warning: don't read this post if you have any intention of seeing hamlet on the west end or julius caesar at the RSC.
i have an embarrassing confession to make: before friday night, i'd neither read nor seen hamlet. *pause for tomato throwing and being kicked in the butt*
okay, glad we got that over with.
i am always wary when directors try to modernize shakespeare, especially when i walk into a theater and technology is the most present force on stage from the beginning of the play. i was pleasantly surprised to find that this production handled technology very well.
from the moment you walk into the theater, the world of the play is incredibly clear. it's set in a house-of-cards-eque world, with modern corner sofas and sliding screens on stage. the opening scene, during which we first encounter the ghost of hamlet's father, is set in the security room of an ambiguous castle in denmark (obviously, because hamlet is part of a really fucked up, power-hungry royal family). instead of having the actor playing the ghost of hamlet's father (whose name is also hamlet? c'mon, bill. you invented words. did we really need two hamlets?!) walking around on stage and giving everyone the heebie jeebies, his apparition appears on the security cameras, which is the perfect way to update shakespeare's intention of freaking the audience out by putting a ghost on stage. obviously, if this guy was walking around on stage, nowadays we know it's all a façade. but, but using technology as a means of representing his ghostliness, it totally updates the way we interpret the paranormal nowadays, which is mostly as essences that we pick up on cameras and recording devices. it was even creepier when the ghost of hamlet's father beckons hamlet to come to him, because the screen showed the ghost transporting himself around the castle through jump cuts (or bumps) from him being at the back of one hallway to all of a sudden being right at the camera waving hamlet over. it was very slenderman-esque.
initially, i was concerned when andrew scott started speaking, drunk with grief, so much so that he seemed actually drunk. i was worried that his casual handling of the language would soil the whole thing, but it actually served the play tremendously. he was so charming to watch, and his erratic outbursts were never unexpected, because you always expected him to be unexpected.
the music was beautiful. fleet foxes meets simon and garfunkle. does anyone know where i can get my hands on that?
that night, i got caught in the rain and missed two buses. i finally got on a bus at midnight and was back in bed at 2 am. i called mike on the bus, and struggled to comb out my rain-sopped hair. definitely a damper on my night. *i am so sorry that was terrible. i'm just gunna go...*
the next day, i was up reasonable early (9:30 am?) to get on a bus for our program's day trip to stratford-upon-avon. i was not looking forward to it for two reasons:
- if you've done stratford once, you've done it a thousand times, and i've done it twice.
- we were going to see julius ceasar, which i was not looking forward to because it is both incredibly violent and one of my least favorite plays.
the thing i was looking forward to most was taking pictures of my friends in the gardens in stratford, but my dream was rained out within twenty minutes of us being there. on the bright side, i got myself a joules rain coat, which i've wanted forever! i wanted a yellow rain jacket, but they only had red in my size, which was a blessing in disguise because red definitely suits me best.
shakespeare's birthplace was cool and expensive to get into.
a few words on caesar: it was brilliantly acted, but it was incredibly violent, so i don't like it any more than i did when i walked into the theater.
today, we had an audition masterclass with pippa nixon. she was lovely, and the class brought me a lot of heart and confidence in my ability to bear the burden of going through hundreds of auditions and only getting a few jobs. she had us do physicality exercises that helped us understand where certain attitudes about ourselves live in our bodies, and had us create mock audition scenarios in small groups. i kept going up on my lines during that little game! i guess my friends make me more nervous than professionals do!
that's all for now!
the only photos i was able to get before it rained all day!