Tupelo students tackle Pied Piper’s ‘Hamlet’

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Noah Cox talks like a veteran actor when he talks about playing the role of Hamlet.
“It’s my favorite Shakespeare play, and I’m not just saying that,” the 15-year-old said, laughing. “It’s a dream come true to play this part.”
Cox is following in the footsteps of actors like Sir Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Branagh and Mel Gibson when he stars as Hamlet in Pied Piper’s production of the classic play.
In fact, he said he’s watched Gibson’s film version and taken a few pointers.
“I really like the scene where King Claudius is praying, and I’m debating whether or not to kill him,” he said.
“Hamlet” is an intense story, full of murder and revenge, but Pied Piper has found a version that’s perfect for kids.
“The plot is trimmed down and the language is simplified,” said director Jimmy Grisham. “We’re really hoping to ignite something in (students) about theater and Shakespeare.”
Melodie Sanchez, 17, plays Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother.
“It’s cool because there’s iambic pentameter, and the whole Shakespeare experience,” she said. “It’s trimmed down, but the language is really fun to play with.”
Spoiler alert: Sanchez’s character dies, and that’s one of her favorite scenes.
“I like that I get to die,” she said, laughing. “I get poisoned and I die and I fall down.”
But there’s more to Gertrude than her death scene.
“It’s empowering because most of Shakespeare’s female characters are strong characters,” she said. “I like that I’m taking on a role that plays on that.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

Dim the Lights
WHAT: Pied Piper presents “Hamlet”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

WHERE: Milam school auditorium, Tupelo

INFO: (859) 948-1200

“HAMLET” CAST: Judyanne
Pumphrey (Narrator); Claire Coggin
(Barnardo); Jared Dillard (Francisco);
Jake White (Horatio); Landon
Craig (Marcellus); John
Doorenbos (King Claudius); Molly
Ray (Laertes); Tyler Swinney (Polonius);
Hamlet (Noah Cox); Meredith
McLaurin (Guildenstern); Hunter
Rodgers (Voltimand); Joel
Pumphrey (Cornelius): Jessie Kellum
(Rosencrantz); Alexis Koonce
(Messenger); Lacey Carroll
(Gravedigger); Tishira Atkins
(Osric); Kate Burleson (Fortinbras);
Madison Nanney (Ghost); Melodie
Sanchez (Queen Gertrude); Mary
Clair Kelly (Ophelia); Allison Peterson
(Ambassador); Deanna Locke,
Regan Plunkett and Patrice Sharp
(Players)