Monday, August 28, 2006

Ophelia (1851-1852) by John Everett Millais

Detailed mini-site from Tate Britain about the painting. Included fun quiz about the painting of the fictional suicide.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

By The Way, Ophelia Is Pregnant

Real penny drop of an argument:
"A girl who has been seduced and abandoned need fear nothing but a broken heart, provided there is no evidence of her shame. But if she is pregnant, then there is no way to hide what she has done, unless she can abort the child, or kill herself. And, indeed, shortly thereafter, Ophelia drowns herself. The conventional interpretation is that Hamlet has broken her heart and then killed her father. But the play seems to suggest strongly that Hamlet has seduced her, and to hint that she is pregnant as well."
I've never seen this extrapolated out into a production and I suppose if anyone did decide to blend it in there would be hackles. But given the textual analysis that has been carried out on the play and the amount of reading I've been doing I can't believe I haven't noticed this before. [via]

Sunday, August 20, 2006

My noble lord, Pete?

I couldn't let the week go by without acknowledging the cover of Radio Times which features Eastenders star Adam Woodyat dolled up as the Dane. Sadly this isn't some publicity for an in-show bit of amdram or some kind of production featuring the cast -- instead its an excuse for a photo-op with the cast portraying different characters in different plays. The accompanying article is the usual stuff about 'if Shakespeare were alive today he'd be writing soap opera' which is something that's never been completely convincing to me. The article does note that most drama has been influenced by Bill and I have heard interviews in the past with Eastenders writers who have used Shakespeare as source material, suggesting that if you were to truncate some storylines they'd mirror some of the plays exactly with props even expressing visually some of the poetry -- is the other parallel that's drawn in the captions to the photographs. The one for Pete and Dawn reads:
"As a bit of a ditherer living in the shadow of his father and struggling to cope with his stepdad, Ian Beale has something in common with the Great Dane. He spends his life feeling sorry for himself and imagining the world is conspiring against him. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. Dawn Swann had her own share of family misery, and wears the air of someone who suffer's life's great cruelties beautifully - even if one of the biggest tragedies so far has been a broken nail."
In the photo inside, Yorick is replaced by a bag of chips. Which isn't the same somehow.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hamlet @ The Edinburgh Festival

A quick round-up of productions with links to a page where you can book tickets. What's surprising is that there isn't a 'pure' production, all have some kind of a gimmick. For example ...
Bouncy Castle Hamlet
Hamlet was published in 1603. Bouncy castles were invented in 1961. Somehow, they had been kept apart... until now. At last, Hamlet performed entirely on a bouncy castle. Ghosts! Pirates! Shakespeare! Jumping! What could possibly be better?

Hamlet: The Gloomy Prince

Join Mark and Daniel as they attempt to stage a version of Hamlet 'for kids'! What at first seemed easy becomes an utter nightmare as their production, relationship and set literally collapse around their ears.

The Hamlet Project
What if Hamlet had a second chance? Using Shakespeare's text, five actors from Drama Centre London examine the greatest and most complete tragedy ever told in this vigorous, bold and unusual show.

The Play's the Thing
Hilarious, award-winning new comic thing from Oxford. An egotistical theatre director tries to put on Hamlet. He ends up as insane as Hamlet himself. Curious? The play, in the end, is the thing...
Which sounds like another version of the In the Bleak Midwinter/Slings & Arrows story. Oh and ...
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Two old school-friend backpackers are summoned to keep an eye on the Prince of Denmark. Set in and around the action of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is one of Tom Stoppard's finest works.
Good luck to everyone.