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A Production of Hamlet in Nungua, Summer 2005
With Carol Weller

I have been asked many times what I find so compelling about Ghana and our programs at Aba House. I must say that high on the list are the neighborhood children. They continue to astound me with their curiosity and talent.

This summer Carol Weller, a teacher trainee from Britain, worked with the children and directed a performance of HAMLET. I can guarantee that this was the first Shakesperean performance in our fishing village. Although a bit of overacting by Hamlet was in evidence, the performance was outstanding.

by Carol Weller - trainee teacher, Surrey, England

Having spent time with the children from Nungua who frequent Aba House, I wanted to use my expertise to offer them the chance to work with drama. The children are 3 - 15 years old so any activities need to provide scope for greater or lesser involvement. In Britain I worked with theatre-in-education groups bringing Shakespeare to schools, so Aba House took on the monster Hamlet.

We started by asking the children to create their own family tree. The next day I showed them the family tree of a prince called Hamlet and started to tell them his story. With the help of some hastily made crowns and some muslin, we muddled through.

Through question and answer sessions we created the basic plot. When I say basic, I send apologies to the scholars as neither Ophelia nor Polonius made an appearance. I figured that Hamlet's situation was tough enough. The next day I finished telling the story of Hamlet and casually mentioned that we could act it out. This was taken up with great enthusiasm and with the help of 2 bedsheets, an upturned rubbish bin and the monkey's drinking bowl we blocked, rehearsed and performed our production with no less than 8 scenes.

Our audience was the Aba House residents. Ignoring the fact that Claudius, the villain, could not stop grinning and the ghost introduced himself as Hamlet's uncle (not his dead father, which one may argue is the whole point), Nungua's Shakespearean debut was a triumph. The image of the 3 year old "couriers" in paper crowns kneeling in the dust at the feet of the dead, noble Hamlet won't leave me for some time.

Hamlet Slideshow