HAMLET’S “TABLES” 2 – (Spoiler Alert: LOW)

by Hamlet on November 15, 2011

Hello fellow Danes! This is my Hamlet Blog. I’ve been writing down my thoughts on process since we decided to go ahead with it. There are some parts that are almost short hand while others are a little more didactic (which could make for some bumpy reading), though I’ve tried to smooth it out as much as possible without compromising the immediacy. Thanks for reading!

Sept 18 – I read through the entire play out loud by myself. It was exhausting, though fun to do. I tried to find as many opportunities for tenderness as possible; there are ample; however, I don’t want to lose the edgier Hamlet that I have in mind. In the grave-digger scene, where Hamlet asks Horatio about Alexander, it occurs to me that he might be asking in a manner other than rhetorical. He has just been staring at the skull of his childhood friend (and, given his propensity for chicanery, possibly his mentor) Yorick; perhaps this arouses some childlikeness in him?

In the unabridged script, Hamlet talks at great length about what people do in life, and how fruitless it is after their deaths. He also seems to mourn over the time spent on breeding raising people only to have their bones cast about the graveyard after their expiration. These are lines I would very much have liked to have kept, but we simply don’t have time for them. 5.1. is a scene that I wouldn’t cut a line from if I had the choice, because I think it’s here that Hamlet is most mortal, having just come from barely averting death at the hands of the pirates, and the infamous letter (of which I shall say no more, lest I violate my own spoiler alert).

Another point of interest: Hamlet has a tendency to poeticize everything, which means he very seldom speaks of his own feelings: he’s more apt to comment on humanity at large. This actually makes Hamlet rather difficult to penetrate in some respects, and perhaps contributes to why he’s so often portrayed and/or received as a whiner; I would wager most actors are not aware of the fact that they infuse “emotionality” into Hamlet at large to off-set what appears to be an impenetrable character. I’m interested in focussing on Hamlet’s sublimated rage, but this is risky business because it may entail alienating the audience; however, as furious as Hamlet is, he is also very funny. I’m not sure if people are really aware of this; it’s hard for me to say, since I’ve known the play quite well for over ten years. His “antic disposition” gives him an unlimited scope to misbehave and charm his audience with his wit. I look forward to exploring this most famous of dispositions! -Kyle

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