Sunday, February 27, 2005

To be or not to be, or why Hamlet is the most relevant play to modern times

What should he do? Should he listen to his heart, his superstitous visions of his father? Are they fanciful delusions telling him only what he wants to hear? How much easier would it be to ignore them, to pretend that all is as it should be? Not only could he protect his life and limb, but also the comfortable lie he has lived for a lifetime. For that matter, could it not be the truth?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

'Fortinbras' puts spin on Hamlet's legacy

This thoroughly enjoyable production starts with the final scene of Hamlet, in which the dying prince, surrounded by his dead family, implores Horatio to tell the world the truth about the tragedy. He dies, and at that moment, Fortinbras strolls in, planning to make a royal visit on his way home from the Norwegian war against Poland. Fortinbras learns what has happened and decides to take over. He orders the servant Osric to store the bodies somewhere and clean up the mess, then he can take over the throne and announce the tragedy to the people of Denmark.

Harrison Students Take on the Bard's Difficult Tragedy

"Always at this age, one of the biggest challenges is to find a way for kids to relate emotionally to what's going on. `Hamlet' starts at a bad place and just gets worse. There are four deaths in the last five minutes of the play. It has to tumble to this horrible end, and that's hard for kids," he said.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Merlin's mad minimalist magic

"But they had it easy. Jack Bennett plays Rosencrantz, a Gravedigger and Mercellus, while Alex Woodhall tackles Guildenstern, Barnardo and the other Gravedigger. The two actors also share one of the props I forgot to mention earlier, a pair of spectacles. The doubling and tripling of roles is particularly hard on the actors, who have to move swiftly and at times seamlessly from one role to another. It is certainly ambitious, but by and large it works. I saw the play on the second night when, as is often the case, the pace was somewhat lacking. My colleague Eszter Bal√°zs had seen it the night before, however, and said it was spot on. "

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Even headed review of Olivier's film

In cutting this immensely long play to a running time of just over two and a half hours, Olivier and his screenplay collaborator, Alan Dent, eliminated some fairly prominent characters (notably Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Fortinbras) and even sacrificed a couple of Hamlet’s most famous soliloquies ('O what a rogue and peasant slave am I' and 'How all occasions do inform against me'), and thus made themselves vulnerable to charges of butchering the Bard. (Olivier, in answer to such criticisms, took to characterizing his film as merely 'a study in Hamlet.')

Seems, madam! Nay it is ... Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin, whose croaked anthem Je t'aime (moi non plus) sent a million adolescents crawling towards their French dictionaries, will make a rare return to the stage next month, to play Gertrude in Hamlet for the first time - in Northampton.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hamlet revisited

"It is important that the task is done right, and to make sure the psychological journey of Hamlet is performed in a safe and trustworthy manner. There is no point in me making a 30-year old Hamlet: with my 24 years I can make the journey of an adolescent to a young man to a grown man," Gareth Taylor said.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Hamlet gets the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 treatment

"Servo: We win! We get any movie we want!
Crow: Mike, you're da bomb, man, what're you gonna pick?
Mike: Oh let's see, something I like. Let's say, say the greatest drama of all time. Pearl, send me Hamlet. With Ronna, Zepherelli, Olivie it's your choice.
Observer: Hamlet... German... Bratwurst.
Pearl: Hehe, perfect. You win, you get Hamlet. Oh boy do you get Hamlet. A dark, dreary, dubbed version made in 1960 for German television. God am I good."

Lost in translation

"This is perhaps what happened in the latest production of Hamlet, by The Actors Studio last week. It was staged in Bahasa Malaysia, and set in a contemporary setting (.22 calibres rather than rapiers and sabres). The fact that it was staged in Bahasa Malaysia seemed to have overshadowed everything else. And that's a problem when some of the actors seem to focus more on the language rather than the story itself. The result was like a pilot flying blind in the middle of a snowstorm, with hardly any contact with the control tower."

Branagh vs Zeffirelli

"The Zef. version is well, yes, crap when you try to compare it to the above. Yeah, where was Horatio (and, for that matter Michael Maloney, mikken?)? Where was the ghost's armour? Where was at least half the text, and the right order of it, and the sense of it? What was with Hamlet shagging his mother? And does anyone think Hamlet of all people would actually rip up a book, especially in Zef.'s pre-printing era setting? I can't be much more specific - I'd have to go watch it again and ... no. It's just wrong, and wrong, and wrong."

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Hamlet of Edmund Kean

(Hazlitt): Kean's surprise when he first sees the Ghost, his eagerness and filial confidence in following it, the impressive pathos of his action and voice in addressing it, 'I'll call thee Hamlet, father, Royal Dane,' were admirable. Mr. Kean has introduced in this part a new reading, as it is called, which we think perfectly correct. In the scene where he breaks from his friends to obey the command of his father, he keeps his sword pointed behind him, to prevent them from following him, instead of holding it before him to protect him from the Ghost.

The importance of arts in the prisons

So Wilcox, a slender, intense woman in big glasses, and a colleague, Mary Ann McGivern, began making trips to Pacific, teaching acting and playwriting, respectively. "Manuel gave me no peace. He wanted more. After one performance he said, 'Well?' and I said, 'Shakespeare.' His eyes got big. I said 'Hamlet.' His eyes got bigger. And then he said 'Yes.'"

Hamlet Video International

How unrelated can a domain name usage be? "Established in 1986, Hamlet Video International Limited is dedicated to the design, manufacture and supply of innovative, high quality, cost effective monitoring equipment to the television broadcast industry worldwide, with concentration currently on both digital and analogue video and audio test and measurement."

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Hearing-impaired young people perform Shakespeare

"From the beginning, the boys seemed uncommunicative, but now our young actors are really inspired and seriously involved," said Asatiani, adding that the boys are very responsible, come to rehearsals early and often leave the theatre late, "they are so caught up with their roles that once, while playing, one boy began crying. They have very expressive faces and that's why we decided that while playing spectators will see them and not just their hands," she said.

Hyper Hamlet

" A cultural history of the play has to take into account the history of its text, of performance practices on stage and in reading, produced by what one may call, metaphorically, the cultural and political climate. Narratives, scenes, figures, phrases and ideas from the play entered the discourse of the moment, enhanced the play's cultural status as a classic, and in turn were fed back into the understanding of the play."