Act V

I’m a big fan of NPR’s This American Life. There’s something so intimate about storytelling where all you hear is the speaker’s voice coming to you over the airwaves. When done well, hearing the human voice can make much more of an impact than seeing video. Or maybe its that little kindergartener in me that wants to snuggle down on my plastic mat for storytime. In any event, This American Life has been celebrated for years as a radio show that touches on all walks of American life. This show has that magical quality of making me arrive at my destination and sit in my car listening until the show is over.

One episode in particular captures This American Life. It’s titled Act V and it details Jack Hitt’s interview of several convicts in a state penitentery putting on a performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Since the play is 4 hours long, they’ve broken it out by Acts, with each subsequent act being staged every six months. While I can appreciate Shakespeare and Hamlet, I’ve never looked at it from this angle before. Hamlet spends the entire play trying to decide if he should kill his uncle, and frankly that conflict never really hit home with me. All of that constant questioning and analysis just made the play drag on.  I never stopped to really analyze what it is he was trying to decide and what the ramifications of that decision would be. The cons in this story know the ramifications all too well… take a listen. You’ll be glad you did.


~ by shaunkime on June 24, 2008.

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