Double TAKE: the stars behind ‘Hamlet’

Christina Liu , Staff Writer

Sophia Kim

“To be, or not be,” Hamlet contemplates in his famous soliloquy in Shakespeare’s tragedy. That is the question for senior Pilar Alcazar and junior Arvind Singh, both of whom will take on the challenging role of Hamlet in the dual cast of the upcoming fall play.

Singh didn’t start performing until freshman year, when he joined drama.

Alcazar, on the other hand, had experience with acting and singing before she joined drama at DBHS her junior year, having performed at church, Christmas pageants and musicals at Chaparral Middle School.         

Singh, who was involved in the DBHS school productions of “Skin of Our Teeth,” “Les Miserables,” “Journey to the West” and “In the Heights,” said that “Hamlet” differs from these plays because it is much darker.

“His views on the world change so he sees the world as depressing and he hates it, but he is afraid of what is after death.” Singh said when describing the character.

Alcazar and Singh auditioned along with about five other people for the role last spring.

For auditions, students were given specific monologues to perform.

“I was sick at home, and I saw that I got cast as ‘Hamlet’ and I was screaming super loud because I didn’t actually think I would get the part,” Singh said.

The students were given their parts early so that they could start memorizing their lines. Singh said that he isn’t much of a “Shakespearean scholar,” so to prepare for the role, Singh went on Sparknotes to review the play. Also to get a better feel for the character, he watched people on Youtube reenact “Hamlet.”

Alcazar on the other hand practiced by having her mom quiz her on her lines.

“Getting into Hamlet’s character was difficult because he’s so conflicted and feeling so many different emotions that it can be tough at times to decide what he’s feeling,” Alcazar said. “It’s always interesting to play someone of the opposite gender.”

Since the production has a dual cast, Alcazar and Singh practice by running through their lines together. Drama holds rehearsals Monday to Thursday from 4 to 7:30, and Alcazar and Singh practice as much as they can on their own time.

“We have been splitting rehearsals and it has been a really cool experience having someone else who you can run your lines with,” Alcazar said.

Drama advisor Beatrice Casagran also helps the students by explaining each scene to give a better understanding of what is happening.

“Casagran has been really awesome about letting us ask questions about any lines or any part of the show we are confused about,” Alcazar said.

“Hamlet” is a new experience for both Alcazar and Singh since they have never been involved in Shakespearean plays.

“It has been a challenge to get ready in a shortened time given the many groups with whom we share the theatre,” Casagran said via email. “However, the important thing is that students are having fun while tackling and learning to love one of the most demanding pieces in English literature—that is a good kind of challenge.”