Monday, September 27

september shakespeare


I could've gone to see The Taming of the Shrew last weekend for much less money, but... Hamlet.

it was awesome to see Hamlet on a real stage. the ghost was very cool, all blue and sparkly. but do we believe his story? after all... he was sleeping when Claudius supposedly murdered him. what if it was a dream?

anyway, these people review the play tons better than I could here. Ms. Larson is right: the set was awesome, the acting was mostly great, and the story absorbing.

since our show was a matinee, we stayed afterwards for a short discussion. the director appeared and answered questions while the actors trickled back onstage, leaving their wigs and make-up and Victorian costumes behind.

someone asked about the challenge of playing an unsympathetic or villainous character. Claudius answered first, since he was the central villain this time. he said you must find at least something to like about your character, no matter how evil he is. if you as the actor cannot stand up for that character and make him real, no one will. Hamlet confessed that it can great fun playing the bad guys because sometimes they get the best lines. and then Laertes explained that as an actor, you serve the story. there is a reason for the unsavory characters. the story needs them. and it needs them to be a little bit mean. a little bit heartless.

I have been thinking about that idea all weekend.

I know no matter what Shakespeare might say, life is not just a story. we men and women are not mere players.

are we?

maybe it depends on who's watching.

I really don't know.


Chris said...

With some monstrous exceptions, completely unrelatable villains are worthless most of the time.

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amelia said...

which monstrous exceptions are these, I wonder?

Claudius hardly seemed like a villain at all in this performance. he was always so sincerely concerned about his mopey/crazy nephew. but then he got a little paranoid and decided to kill him off... but by then the general tragedy was already swallowing everyone and everything, anyway.

Chris said...

You know, big nightmarish horror types. Like Balrogs or something. Maybe they don't even count as villains because there's no intent; it's just in their nature. You probably wouldn't call a Balrog mean as such, after all.

I often prefer to think of certain characters as antagonists rather than villains, just because it's easier to make them human that way.

Having said that, a character like Organza is undoubtedly a villain. And a pretty unrelatable one at that. But we're not supposed to take her seriously, so that's OK.

amelia said...

antagonists. that makes sense.

hm. I was going to say that somebody somewhere might be able to feel a little bit sorry for Organza, but I can't actually imagine that possibility, even if I try. she is far too silly.