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Alumni Seminar Series, Hamlet

The Alumni Seminar Series raised the curtain for the 2022-23 season on Thursday, September 22, with Act 1 of Hamlet, a play that has fueled hundreds of years of debate since it was first performed in 1602.

Is Hamlet a heroic humanitarian? An indecisive coward? An ethical philosopher in a world of cynical manipulators? 

No discussion of Hamlet can e'er be dull, and on Thursday night, alumni gathered for the first seminar series in several years that was an in-person event with a dinner beforehand. While alumni were invited to attend the event virtually, most chose to come to the Massey Leadership Center to participate in person. The series was organized and hosted by Tom Duquette, who retired last spring after four decades as a teacher and coach at Norfolk Academy, but who continues to be involved in the alumni seminars, which he started several years ago.

For the Hamlet discussion, Upper School English Department Chair Ari Zito joined with English Teacher Rich Peccie, who has taught a course on Shakespeare's plays for several years, to lead a lively discussion, which included chances to read some iambic pentameter aloud. Several alumni had not ever read the play; they did not have it as a requirement at Norfolk Academy, and their years studying engineering or medicine in college did not include study of a play that is a touchstone for numerous cultural references.

Alumni are invited to join the conversation at any point in the series, including in the final act--though it is hoped that interested alumni don't wait that long! The next opportunity is October 27, when English Teachers Dr. David Kidd and Esther Diskin will lead a discussion of Act 2, which includes the arrival of Hamlet's pals (or are they?) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Visit our Alumni webpages for more information on the series and to see other alumni events

Ari Zito leads discussion of Hamlet

Upper School English Department Chair Ari Zito leads a discussion of Hamlet, Act 1, as part of this year's Alumni Seminar Series. Members of the English department are working in pairs to lead conversations about Hamlet throughout the year.

Rich Peccie leads a discussion of Hamlet

English Teacher Rich Peccie leads a discussion of Act 1 of Hamlet as part of the Alumni Seminar Series. Mr. Peccie has taught a class on Shakespeare's plays for several years, and his current class of juniors and seniors is also in the middle of Act 1. Alumni are invited to join the discussion at any point in the series and dinner is included! The next discussion is Oct. 27. 

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