Senior Charlotte Hughes shares a director’s insight

If somebody calls you a “cretinous pig-face” this week, don’t take offense: they may just be asking what time it is.

Dogg’s Hamlet, a one-act play by Tom Stoppard and directed by senior Charlotte Hughes, features a handful of students and their principal putting on a performance of Hamlet—but with a twist. They are all speaking in a nonsense language called “Dogg.”

Hughes was originally introduced to the play by Upper School theater director Eric Severson.

“I read through it and loved the comedic language tensions and decided to go for it. I casted the production looking for people who could play big comedic characters and display meaning through actions rather than just dialogue, which is essential when speaking a different language,” Hughes said.

The Dogg language presented an initial challenge for the cast, who had to compensate for the nonsense language with their acting ability. However, Hughes eventually found that the language barrier allows for a great deal of individual interpretation.

“It is definitely harder to communicate a play’s intentions when one cannot use words that the audience understands, but this liberation of text from preconceived meaning allows us to create our own tones for every word,” she said.

Their command of the Dogg language has also grown appreciably. “We get more comfortable with the language with every rehearsal and now it is almost second nature to us. I hear snippets of Dogg language from my cast in the hallways; it’s great practice,” Hughes said.

The multiple cold days during January threatened to impede the rehearsal process, but the actors managed to meet for practice on their own terms. “We made up for not being able to use the stage on Monday by holding rehearsal at my house, which actually went very well and became a fun bonding experience outside of school,” Hughes said.

Despite the outside of school meetings, the directors and actors agreed that a one-week delay was necessary to fully prepare the student-directed performances and to allow stage time for the play competing at the state competition.

“All of the One Acts directors had expressed their worries about not being ready in time for the original One Acts performance date, and Mr. Severson also needed more time onstage to prepare for competition held on the Saturday after the original One Acts performance date, which could not be moved,” Hughes said.

“Now that the date has been pushed back a week, there is certainly less pressure. I can give my cast a couple breaks this week, and there is more time to play with different acting styles.”

The One Acts will take place in the Sarah Converse auditorium on Feb. 8.

To view a cast list of this year’s One Acts, click here. Also be sure to look out for an article on Metamorphosis directed by Severson in the January/February print issue.