Incoming students at Colorado College will read “Hamlet,” described by one CC English professor as “the Mona Lisa of literature – a text that resists conclusive interpretation while at the same time exerting a powerful pull on our imaginations.”
“The common reading provides Colorado College students and faculty with a shared intellectual experience that, paradoxically, gives us all an opportunity to discover just how differently we can respond to a single text,” said Associate Dean of the College Re Evitt. “It introduces first-year students to the complex ways that interpretive communities produce meaning.”
It’s also an excellent play to launch incoming students on their journey at CC. For as Ophelia says in Act 4, Scene 5, “Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
“It is, for me, an ideal text to choose as the one book all First-Year Experience students will read,” said Associate Professor of English Steven Hayward. “For no matter what the discipline, no matter what class a student actually takes, students emerge from the FYE experience with a clear understanding of the level of intellectual engagement that will be asked of them in the next four years. Among other things, this means understanding that the questions one asks are just as important—more crucial—than the answers at which one arrives.”
There are few plays filled with more questions or texts more insistently and powerfully interrogative than “Hamlet,” Hayward said. As if he were leading CC’s First-Year Experience himself, Hamlet tries to get down to first principles and define the contradictions that define humanity.
The play will be complemented by Buntport theater company performances of “Something is Rotten.” Buntport, the Denver-based theater company which The Denver Post dubbed “Monty Python's anarchist grandchildren,” is known for its unusual adaptations and quirky original comedies. The group, comprised of CC alumni Brian Colonna ’00, Erik Edborg ’97, Erin Rollman ’98, Samantha Schmitz ’00, Evan Weissman ’01, and Hannah Duggan ’98 is “engrossing, ingenious and surprising,” says USA Today.
“Buntport theater company is no stranger to the inventive,” says a Denver Post review, adding that the group is “fearless, funny and fiercely intelligent.”
Participants in this year’s Freedom and Authority session, a Homecoming Weekend tradition, also will read and discuss “Hamlet.”