‘One Act’ a Send-Up

Every year, the Dripping Springs High School theatre department competes in the UIL One-Act Play competition, performing against hundreds of other schools across Texas, and this year the department is performing The Marowitz Hamlet.

“It’s basically the story of Hamlet, but the author has a deep hatred for Hamlet,” Technical Director Mr. Rickman said.

Charles Marowitz spent much of his life analyzing Shakespeare’s plays and compiled his opinions and works in a collection called The Marowitz Shakespeare. Marowitz, however, wrote The Marowitz Hamlet in the late 1960s in an effort to retell one of Shakespeare’s most renowned works through a different light; his loathing of the troubled college student who utters one of theatre’s most famed lines ‘to be or not to be.’

Marowitz wrote about the character Hamlet as follows: “I despise Hamlet. He is a slob, a talker, an analyser, a rationalizer. Like the parlour liberal or the paralysed intellectual, he can describe every facet of a problem, yet never pull his finger out.”

And Dripping Springs Theatre is extremely excited to bring this show to the stage and tackle the daunting task Marowitz’s show provides.

“[Marowitz] takes the story of Hamlet and chops it up and puts it all into a different story line. It goes inside the mind of the character Hamlet,” Rickman said.

Marowitz wanted to travel into the demented mind of one of his least favorite characters and present a story that examines the aspects of Hamlet’s madness from within rather than without. He has, thus, taken Shakespeare’s original text and reassigned lines among the characters, changed the sequence of events, and stylistically altered the performance of scenes in order to convey his desired message.

“We’re utilizing the use of strings and ropes attached to set pieces connecting to different places and actors as a representation of the insanity in Hamlet’s mind,” Rickman said.

And on top of all the aspects of confusion within the play itself, UIL One-Act Play guidelines also provide some limitations on the creative forces behind the production.

“One-Act is it’s own entity within the state of Texas, in that instead of having total, complete creative freedom, we’re limited to a handbook of different rules of, for example, the amount of fabric we use, or the types of materials for set pieces we use so we’re limited in that way,” Rickman said.

And, to top it all off, with eight shows performing at each competition, every show has to be performed in under 40 minutes, with 7 minutes beforehand to build the set and then 7 minutes immediately following the show to take the set down and move it off the stage so that the next school can perform.

“And you’re always traveling with the show,” Rickman said. “So, you have to make sure that you can pack everything up and take it with you if you continue to advance and perform at different locations all across Texas.”

Dripping Springs High School is hosting both district and bi-district competitions in March, and the theatre program is confident that they will be able to tackle the beautiful story of Hamlet the way Marowitz would have intended.

Written by Olivia Fletcher, Staff Writer

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