Written by Pearly Bowser
Albany – ASU Speech and Theatre major, Kevin Peal is featured in The New York Times for his powerful delivery of words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
He submitted a video clip to the newspaper’s “Maximum Shakespeare Hamlet Contest.”The competition encouraged high school and college students to submit a 15-second Instagram video delivering lines from the play. Of 500 submissions, Peal’s recording was among 20 videos highlighted on the newspaper’s theater web page.
“I practiced my lines for about two days straight, just really hitting it hard and defining the character,” said the enthusiastic ASU senior. “I probably said the lines about 200 times. I recorded about 50 videos and submitted one.”
Peal’s celebrated video came as a result of a mandatory assignment for a theatre seminar class taught by Dr. Eve Lambert, assistant professor of speech and theatre.
After reading an advertisement in the newspaper announcing the contest, Lambert emailed the information to her students and to local high school fine arts departments.
“They each came up with their own interpretations,” Lambert said. “We are excited that out of 500 students across the county, an ASU student was featured.”
Peal’s interpretation of Hamlet was a snapshot of his own life experiences. At age 3, his father died. That’s when he quickly adjusted to taking on many roles, such as “man of the house.”
“The young black male is stereotyped so much that we can’t even walk the street at night wearing a hoodie without getting shot,” said Peal. “This hoodie character who is often criticized and judged can even relate to William Shakespeare and the characters he wrote about.”
Although the young actor has gained national attention, this isn’t the first time he’s interpreted a Shakespearian character. While attending Georgia Perimeter College in Decatur, Ga. he also portrayed Othello during his Acting I course, and in As You Like It’ in Acting II.
After graduation, Peal will continue pursuing a theater career in hopes of landing a dream role in a biopic portraying 1990’s hip-hop icon, Tupac Shakur.