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H for Hamlet

by Eric Bentley

The first link that came up when I Google'd H for Hamlet was a website for the Hamlet Law Firm -- click the title above to go there. It's quite humorous. He's pretty hardcore. It says: Aggressive Representation, showing a picture of a SWAT Team.. he may be overcompensating a bit, trying to fight off the melancholy Dane image. He's quick to prove that he's a man of action! ANYway. The play.

A fun little play. Basically about an actor who took a bad fall and believed for twenty years that he was Hamlet. His visitors adopt Elizabethan dress and take on a character from the play in order to not break his illusion of reality. The parallels to Hamlet are enjoyable - there is a doctor character (who takes on the persona of Polonius) who attempts to cure the "Hamlet" via shock therapy (paralleling Polonius' scheme of setting Ophelia on Hamlet in order to prove his madness is just love-sickness)... throughout the play we wonder if this "Hamlet" is really crazy or just pretending to be (sound familiar?) .. he then confesses that he's been sane for the last 8 years (out of 20).

All in all, I liked it. I think any Shakespeare nerd would enjoy it. It would be entertaining to work on and to see produced.. the part of Hamlet in this play is wonderful. He has some beautiful speeches that border on insanity and yet are full of questioning and meaning. "Aren't words wonderful," he says, "so light and yet so heavy?" And this Hamlet has his own share of heavy words, albeit not the famous ones.

The most "giving" woman in the world is still that remotest thing in the universe - another person. The place her eyes look out from is a prison, walled, moated, locked, barred, hermetically sealed. She is alone. You are alone. So what is love?
What a lonely thing to speak out loud. And yet it speaks to our own secret fears. That we'll never be understood, that "love" as we imagine it is a fantasy.. an illusion. This Hamlet voices the thoughts and desires and fears of Shakespeare's Hamlet, but there is no use of soliloquy. He says what's he's thinking/feeling/dreading/needing right to the other characters - provoking them in a very immediate way - forcing them, and in turn US, to deal with it.

Thursday Play-a-day: Prelude to a Kiss by Craig Lucas

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope the Hamlet law office knows that catching someone react while watching a play isn't admissible in court =/

That book sounds most interesting. Hopefully, my library carries it. Or at least, Kindle.


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