Students on the score


Photo provided by: Lily Stilp-Johnson

Beginning work shortly after the cast list was released, seniors Claudia Lerner and Lily Stilp-Johnson were tasked with writing the score for the schools production of “Hamlet”. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase student talents, and I’m very happy to be a part of it,” Stilp-Johnson said.

Julia Hubbell, Editor-in-Chief

Music, in both film and live performances, is a largely important element of storytelling. As the school’s drama department prepared to put on the Sheakesprearian classic Hamlet, seniors Claudia Lerner and Lily Stilp-Johnston were tasked with creating an original score for the musical. Had the theater department chosen to do a traditional version of the play, they would have been able to use a pre-written recording, however, the school decided to put a new spin on an old tale. The gender-bent, 90s punk-rock Hamlet that the drama department is putting on requires a different body of musical works to accompany the production.

Lerner and Stilp-Johnston, both members of chorus, were approached about the project due to recommendations from chorus teacher Nicholas Powers.

“The day after callbacks, I was pulled into Mx. Rinaldi’s and asked if I would like to write the music for the fall play,” Stilp-Johnston said. “My initial thoughts about taking on this project were pure excitement and anticipation. I think it’s an amazing opportunity and challenge, especially since writing and producing music is what I want to do with my life after high school.”

To ensure that the theater department is satisfied with the work of the composers, the groups are in constant communication. They hope that this frequent and open communication will yield both a visually and auditorily engaging performance.

“It’s about the inflections within the play and how I can utilize those to create the illusion that is wanted by [Mx.] Rinaldi and the cast in general,” Stilp-Johnson said.

Through their communication however, the students were given permission to take many creative liberties.

“I was given almost complete creative freedom,” Lerner said. “Mx. Rinaldi said to write whatever came to me and not worry.”

These creative liberties allowed the duo to explore a variety of emotion-building musical devices, and decide which they think will be the most important to include in their compositions.

“I often will find scenes with high emotions and will base the chords I use, or places I choose to play music, on the emotional energy in that scene,” Stilp-Johnson said. “There are a lot of scenes with high emotion that I feel sound better in complete silence, but there are other scenes that are complemented and easier to understand with the music.”

With the continued efforts of Lerner and Stilp-Johnson, as well as the rest of the theater department, students on campus are anticipating the premier of the play.

“I think it’s really cool that students are able to write the music,” senior Justin Moore said. “I will definitely see Hamlet when it comes out.”