The Project

The play was Hamlet, and you'd read it only once in your life, for that one AP class you couldn't remember the name of, but you passed the test at the end of it all with flying colors. Hell, you'd even gone to that drawing they'd had for people who had passed, and you'd won your shiny new laptop, the one that sat open on your desk as you listened to the teacher drone on.

You hated this class. It was the second AP course you'd mistakenly decided to take, and it was you senior year. In fact, everyone was telling you how stupid you were for picking the class over early release, but, hey, your mom had wanted you to be challenging yourself, and if your friends thought you were going to disobey the woman that gave you gas money, then they were wrong.

So there you sat, listening to Mrs. Gronan, her voice at just that high pitch to sound whiny and grating to the nerves. She had been teaching for some-odd years, had come from some town, in some state, and she'd made it a point to tell you all of that useless information on your first day, just like every other teacher did. As if you cared about what her life was before she started teaching you. As if anyone cared that she had whatever number of dogs or cats or both, or how many kids she had and how old they were, and Oh how I wish you all could meet them!

Blah, blah, blah. That was all you heard. and you hated every second of it. You'd read everything two weeks before the class started it, and the "challenge" that this course claimed to give was beginning to look more like a challnege of patience and nerves, rather than academics. What moron hired a teacher that spent every other minute lifting her own hair and peering into a pocket mirror as she talked? What did she do at home, if she spent school time dressing up and primping?

Of course, the rest of the class loved her. Light on homework, easy grades. It was a good credit to have, since everything was so easy. They got to do it all in class, and she often invited the class to her lonely Suburban home on weekends to study, accompanied by expensive caviar and squid, and steaks and ribs. Had you any liking to any of those things, you might have taken the lead of that group, swimming between study sessions in the gigantic, heated indoor pool she had and showed off to the class. But you hated fish, especially tentacle things, and steaks and ribs weren't a fan favorite of yours, either. You preferred a good, old-fashioned hamburger, or a brat wurst, if you were feeling particularly hungry. Your mom didn't do a lot of cooking, so dinner was usually up to you, anyhow. And you knew how to make a staggering burger, so that was what you liked, not some fancy thing that probably cost more than you could make in a year, working your job down at the local Grocer, bagging foods. Your classmates could enjoy Mrs. Gronan all by themselves.

The only thing you liked about this lady was that any assignment given was generally given to have room to work. As in, creative response, with lots of freedom. This morning, she passed down a sheet of paper that outlined what she was saying right now, and you read through it before she even opened her mouth.

Instructions: Creatively respond to the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

The instructions were literally just that, and it sounded easy. He had plenty of options, including photography, short stories, essays, poems, rewriting the play...

Rewriting the play, huh? Modernizing it, she'd said, the only bit of her monologue that you caught. You could do that. You actually did enjoy writing, and play-writing even more. You could picture everything perfectly, and the greatest thing about it was that you had just as much freedom as writing a story itself, except in this case, you could put an entire modern take to a play you had actually enjoyed in its original format.

Play writing it is.

The rest of class was spent idly clicking around on your laptop, bookmarking sites that could help you translate the more exquisite wording of Shakespeare into modern language, and then the bell rang, and, as always, you were the first out of the door.