Friday, October 16, 2015
It was fun to see Hamlet simulcast from the Barbican in London. This is the version starring Benedict Cumberbatch. It was very much like a modern opera production with contemporary clothing and furniture. At one point Hamlet wears a Bowie t-shirt. When Hamlet is speaking only to us, the other actors freeze in place while Hamlet speaks.
The strongest feature of this production is the intense energy of Benedict Cumberbatch. He is on stage for the whole first half. The other actors displayed a wide variety of accents, something I have not experienced for Shakespeare. Stage English is the standard. Did this intend to illustrate class in the characters, or was it just a coincidence?
It starts with chandeliers and celebrations and moves through madness and accidental murder to a scene of utter devastation and ruin with dead bodies strewn about the stage.
One of my favorite bits: Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are standing with the queen and king. King says to left person, Goodbye Rosenkrantz and then to right person, Goodbye Guildenstern. Queen then comes up to these same two guys and says to the left person, Goodbye Guildenstern, and then to the right person, Goodbye Rosenkrantz. When was Hamlet supposed to be funny?
It was fast paced and enjoyable.