Nebraska Shakespeare visits North Platte for special performance

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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. -- School children from North Platte and several other surrounding communities were treated to a special rendition of one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays. The Nebraska Shakespeare group preformed a condensed version "Hamlet" at the Neville Center Wednesday morning.

"It engages people," Sara Morris, the president of the North Platte Community Playhouse, said."[It] takes them out of their personal world and into the world of make-believe, which is sometimes a really good way to work out other problems in our daily lives."

Morris estimates 80 percent, or more, of the student have never seen a live play before. Therefore, the performance is designed to be an educational experience and she believes this a fantastic opportunity for the kids.

"As students were arriving, I was so excited to greet them," Rajean Shepherd, who is an administrative assistance there, said. "I had quite a few students say to me, 'I have never been to this theater before. I'm excited to be here.'"

The original version of "Hamlet" has more than 4, 000 lines and runs for more than four hours. However, the Nebraska Shakespeare group's performance of "Hamlet" runs no longer than 80 minutes. The play needed to be shortened to accommodate the schools' schedule.

"We want people to enjoy this theater," Morris said. "That's the biggest thing."

Morris said the plans to welcome Opera Omaha have been finalized and the playhouse is activity engaged in talks with Nebraska Shakespeare to bring the group back.