prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
nobody told me that sexy horatio from tennant's hamlet was in broadchurch. you're all fired.

i'm only two eps in so far, shhhh, no spoiler me pls
prof_pangaea: the master (raptor rampage!)
He failed to win a nomination for a Laurence Olivier award because a bad back prevented him from completing enough performances, but Mandrake can disclose that fans of David Tennant will have another chance to see him in the role of Hamlet.

The 37-year-old Dr Who actor and the entire cast of the RSC production are preparing to make a film version of the play in June to record for posterity his portrayal, which was described by some as the greatest Hamlet of his generation.

i think the "greatest hamlet of his generation" comment is just possibly a bit much. but who fucking cares because THEY'RE RECORDING IT!! i eagerly await patrick stewart's claudius and the scene in gertrude's closet. oh yeah! meanwhile i am too amused by the headline: "David Tennant's curtailed Hamlet will rise from the grave". zombie hamlet sounds like a project that should already exist somewhere, surely?
prof_pangaea: the master (hamlet is a multiverse)

hamlet is brooding

i think i made this about a year ago. thanks for the help, john gielgud.
prof_pangaea: the master (hamlet is a multiverse)
i have been avoiding posting about the RSC's current production of hamlet because it's pretty much bound to be completely embarrassing if i reveal the actual depth of the existential angst i have been experiencing by knowing that this production is happening but that i CAN'T SEE IT. there is a mathematical formula i have come up with that begins to convey it:

prof_ + unavailable(hamlet[tennantxstewart]) = ;___________; x FOREVER

god i'm lame.

but seriously! HAMLET. anyone who's been around my journal for the long haul will know a little about the essays, installations, comics, and choose-your-own-adventures i have created based around hamlet (not to mention the icons. oh man). hamlet is one of those stories that i find endlessly fascinating and endlessly fruitful to explore. hamlet is a limitless mirror for society and a bottomless well of self-reflection for humanity. every production has a different thing to say, every performance. hamlet is a multiverse of possibilities.

i think anything that reaches a certain level of cultural importance becomes a kind of multiverse within which can be found a sort of medium for playing with our ideas of ourselves, our relationships, our culture, our history, the universe as a whole. hamlet is probably the most important and time-honoured example of this development ever (outside the purview of religion, of course -- that is a whole other essay. or... million).
it's not that hamlet is the best play that was ever written, although it is really quite good, it's that it was produced at just the place, in just the right time, so that it has become a symbol for human endeavour and creativity that far outweighs it's importance as a play merely. it's HAMLET.

so anyway i've been on the lookout for reviews of the current RSC production with david tennant and patrick stewart. patrick stewart is my favourite claudius of all time, guys! i have yet to find anyone even approach the depth and complexity of his claudius. i want to see him now, 28 years later, and even more amazing and layered and moving. everything i've read so far indicates that to be the case, which makes me incredibly excited, even though i can't see it.

also, i am so glad that david tennant is apparently Quite Good, with the chance (some even say almost certainty) of his performance maturing into one of the greats.
links to reviews and a bit of teal deer )

oh how i wish someone would post a picture of the scene with the ghost. guess i will have to go with a photo from my other favourite scene, namely act III scene iv, when hamlet goes to gertrude's closet after the play:

seriously, RSC. record this.

ham melt

Feb. 16th, 2008 04:21 pm
prof_pangaea: the master (it's a gas mask)
nicol williamson, why you got to be so good? finally saw his hamlet from 1969 -- excellence on spooled magentic tape. if only it was on dvd, i would be making screencaps of great length. i expected it to be rather like the bbc adaptations of the early 80's, like his macbeth -- very uneven, awkward, and visibly straining for cash. instead it is still somewhat uneven but rather beautiful, if low-budget, with several scenes that are the best i've ever seen. somehow i forgot that gordon jackson plays horatio. how is that possible? i dun know.

the scene with hamlet and his father's ghost is fuckin amazing. i watched it... a lot.

this is actually not one of the strongest scenes, mainly because i don't think the producers really thought through anyone else's characters very much, so ophelia is just sort of a vessel for nice lines. she has an incestuous relationship with laertes, but this never seems to go anywhere in regards to her or polonius' characterisation. it perhaps makes hamlet's obsession with his mother's "incestuous" relationship make more sense and seem slightly less... weird. but it doesn't seem to be especially exploited. ah well. you get bonus anthony hopkins with ear-rings at the end, so it's all good.

the real point is that thing where every time i see/hear/read hamlet again i remember i want to do a project with it. i've got several false-starts for comics and a choose-your-own-adventure story so far. might give a stab at the comics bit again.
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
So, I'm doing a google search to find anything about Nicol Williamson, as there is a very sorry lack of information about him online, and I'm curious! Anywho, here is something someone said about his Hamlet:

"This Hamlet's tragedy is not that he could not make up his mind, but that his intelligence couldn't save him from his character."

AHHHHH, I want to see it so much, even though I found out that they really CUT the play (running time is like 117 minutes!!). Even if everyone else in the film is completely awful (which is impossible), it would be worth seeing just for five minutes of Williamson's acting. Ooh, I caught a glipmse of Gordon Jackson as Horatio, though... yee-ikes. Let's hope his beard wasn't as bushy as I thought.
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
If you can believe it, this production was actually controversial in 1964 for it having the absolute minimum of scenery, props, and set, along with the actors wearing rehearsal clothes (carefully chosen, but still ordinary 1964 clothes).

Gielgud: Well, the first scene didn't really work. I'm sure it disappointed them. And then in the second scene they were staggered by the clothes.

Burton: Well, we suspected it would take them time to get used to the clothes, but last night's audience was particularly unsophisticated.

Gielgud: Or oversophisticated.

Burton: Or over-dull. They didn't know Hamlet at all. Elizabeth told me some of the comments she heard about the play and they're extraordinary! Like the old lady who said, "Isn't it full of quotations?"
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
From the book John Gielgud Directs Richard Burton in Hamlet, which is actually a transcript of the rehearsals, and extremely interesting! This was too funny not to share:

Gielgud: And I do beg you, Linda [Ophelia], in the mad scene, to wear your blouse right open. Modesty aside! Don't tie it in front. I suppose it would be too much for not to have it at all, just to wear the brassiere and the skirt. Do you think that would be too much? Would that embarass you?

Linda Marsh: Yes.

Gielgud: It would. Well, perhaps it wouldn't be so good. You might look like the Playboy Bunny of Elsinore. And Rosencrantz, don't come in with that empty scabbard in the "Hide fox" scene. Leave it offstage. It looks most indecent, that white flexible scabbard, hanging like that.
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
[In response to the question, Why is Hamlet so important in Russia?]:
"I think because it is the source of Shakespeare's questions. Why do we live, and do we have to live? Do we live for the light, the truth, or for lies and intrigues? Do we live to say that, 'I, Man, an the most marvelous being in this world?' Or is it that, 'I am different from animals only because I wear a suit'?"
-- Innokenti Smoktunovski

"I personally think that Hamlet is an absurd hero. His first soliloquy suggests to me, when he says that 'My uncle is no more like my father than I am to Hercules,' -- is what he picks out of the air to compare his opposite silhoutte to: Hercules. In other words, implicit in his first soliloquy is, 'I'm no hero, ladies and gentlemen, don't look at me to get everything right. Because it's not me."
-- Ben Kingsley

"Here is a man who is in the middle of life and death, who is concerned about issues, who is very much not cool, and not sympathetic, and not -- but someone who is fiery, and hot, and full of life, and pain, and anger, and anguish."
-- Nicol Williamson

[On Hamlet's wordplay, etc.]:
"It really is like Muhammed Ali. I mean, he's round those bum-a-month guys -- I mean, he dances rings round them."
-- Nicol Williamson

[On the closet scene]:
"It's a domestic scene. Domestic crisis -- of enormous proportions, and somebody in that room is dead that was alive at the beginning of the scene. Nevertheless, it ends with, 'Goodnight, mother', and all that that means -- a valediction to that relationship in its previous form. 'Goodnight' -- goodbye to the old mother, incidentally you, who I've just seen, at last, after all the clutter; I've burnt all the toyboxes, and I can see you at last, goodnight you, whom I've seen for the first time in my life, and you have seen me, you've seen me grow up, because I'm dragging a dead body out of your bedroom. This is me, a man, doing this. Not a child."
-- Ben Kingsley

[On Hamlet's behaviour at the end of the play]:
"I had very much the feeling that here was someone who did want to live, but suspected, as people sometimes say...'I think I'm gonna die.'"
-- Nicol Williamson
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
by Mary Z. Maher and William Shakespeare
Depending on whom you're listening to, David Warner may have been the best Hamlet of this century... or the worst.

When David Warner was performing Hamlet at the RSC one evening, a member of the audience actually entered the play. It was near the end of the second act, just after Hamlet dismisses Rosencrantz and Guilderstern. With a sigh of relief, Warner breathed,

Now I am alone.

He raked the stalls with his eyes, scooping in the
balcony with a wide look, and then began the soliloquy:

O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstruous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his whole conceit
That from her working, all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in 's aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing.
For Hecuba!

The audience followed him closely. He gave the natural builds in the speech, moving through:

What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
Make mad the guilty and appal the free,
Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
The very faculty of eyes and ears. Yet I,
A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
And can't say nothing - no, not for a king
Upon whose property and most dear life
A damned defeat was made.
At the series of short questions begining with:
Am I a coward?

Warner paused, just to think about what he'd said. Surprisingly, one of the spectators shouted, "Yes!"

Warner responded:

Who calls me villain, breaks my pate across,
Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face,
Tweaks me by the nose, gives me the lie i'th' throat
As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?

And now a name was shouted from the audience! Warner was excited and responded with some vehemence:

Hah, 'swounds, I should take it; for it cannot be
That I am pigeon-liver'd...

Warner remembered this as one of the most exhilarating nights of his acting career. He was stunned with the rightness of feeling and the naturalness of speaking these soliloquy lines to the theatre audience. The text supported him absolutly. No adjusments in timing, motivation or thought needed the be made. He was still making discoveries inside the act of performance, and it filled him with a sense of awe about Shakespeare dramaturgy.
prof_pangaea: the master (Default)
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! Alrighty, I'm doing my research for my Hamlet comic; reading up, watching productions -- I've put a request into the library for some sort of documentary with Trevor Nunn talking all about the play (neat!). Anyway, I found this book called Hamlet: In My Mind's Eye, about how the text can be interpreted differently with different readings, stagings, blah blah etc.

Well, I'm reading about Act I, Scene III (Laertes taking his leave), and the author mentions a production (from 1969) in which Laertes gives Ophelia his remonstrative morals speech while they 're both in bed together, because apparently Tony Ricardson, the director though, 'Hmm... how can I make Hamlet more fucked up? ...More incest!' Now, I find this an extremely interesting idea, so I look up the production on IMDb, and what do I find? Well, not only was Laertes played by Michael Pennington (who played Holmes in a TV movie, The Return of Sherlock Holmes in the late 80's), but it has Nicol Williamson as Hamlet! And Gordon Jackson as Horatio! And Anthony Hopkins as Claudius!! (by the way -- Williamson played Holmes in The Seven-per-cent Solution, and I fell in love with Gordon Jackson as the head butler Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs).

Dammit, I need to see this movie. And dammit also, I wish our library was better stocked with books of literary analysis -- when I did my paper on Hamlet in Canterbury, you wouldn't believe all of the Shakespeare stuff they had. Oh, for a copy of Acting Hamlet! Or even better, Shaw on Shakespeare!! He wrote many reviews as well as analyses, of course, being that that was his job for quite a while.

"Mr. Forbes Robertson, his lightness of heart all gone, wandered into another play at the words, 'Sleep? No more!' which he delivered as, 'Sleep no more'. Fortunately, before he could add, 'Macbeth does murder sleep', he relapsed into Hamlet and saved the situation."

Agh, I am regetting not buying that book I saw in that wonderful second hand book shop, it was a coffeee table type of things, pictures of different actors and productions of Shakespeare (or was it just Hamlet? I don't remember now!). The pictures from the Branaugh production made me wish I could have seen it (not just because Claudius looks like a Southern gentleman!). I wish I had a time-traveling machine just so I could go back to the 60's and see David Warner as Hamlet with the RSC!!

Oh no! I just searched some more on IMDb and found a production from 1964 with Christopher Plummer as Hamlet and Michael Caine as Horatio!! Wah!


prof_pangaea: the master (Default)

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