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Recently I asked my kids what was the most fun thing they remember doing as children. I got answers ranging from going to the beach, to playing baseball at the top of the street, to playing hide and go seek in the dark. But the thing that tops the list is the summer we made our movie version of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. In typical Nicolas fashion, we dragged all the kids from the neighborhood over to our house and told them they were going to be stars. Everyone enthusiastically chose who they wanted to be. During baseball practices, I poured over the original play and adapted the lines to the age and capacity of each of my actors. Every day the kids came over, eager and excited to take part. I wrote their lines on a white board and coached them as we practiced. Our living room became the stage. The back yard became the cemetery (complete with cardboard tombstones), and the side yard became an arbor. The neighbor’s swimming pool was perfect for Ophelia’s death scene. I sewed costumes and adapted household items into stage props. My oldest son became the camera man, using our new video camera. Everyday we filmed, re-filmed, laughed, and enjoyed ourselves. Using a computer, my oldest son edited and spliced, putting the scenes together and adding special effects. Finally, the movie was done! We decided to hold a movie night, invite all the parents and families, and give each of the actors an “Oscar”… except our awards were spray painted bowling pins, with curly tails, ears, and cute pink pig noses. We called them the “Ham”let Awards. The long-anticipated night arrived. The families gathered. My sister was visiting from Canada, and she got in on the fun as well. Popcorn was passed around, the curtains were closed, and the TV went on. Together we watched the completed version of Hamlet as tears of laughter ran down our cheeks, and popcorn spilled on the floor. Then each child received their ‘Hamlet.’ Well, our movie would never have won a real Oscar, but we sure had a lot of fun. I doubt any of the kids will forget the summer they starred in Hamlet. I know I never will.

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