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October 24, 2015 11:03 am  #21


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

But it needs a bit of editing though.

Now I see why I have problems with understanding Ben when he speaks. It's the endless sentences and meandring thoughts. But still, if you consider that he (most probably) had no script for what he's saying, he's amazingly eloquent.

ETA: I think it's a great example of the subversive power of fandom. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

Last edited by JP (October 24, 2015 11:18 am)

 

October 24, 2015 1:46 pm  #22


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

lol, "a bit of editing".http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

As far as I'm concerned, I find it fascinating to type his words down -even if someties it gets hard to understand the meaning. Not only are his ideas interetesting, the vocabulary he uses is also formidable.
I, too, don't think he had any sort of script, but he must have had some of the questions (partly, because you can clearly see he exposes his thoughts) prepared , so he probably prepared the general answer for some questions. With that kind of play there are questions that cannot not be adressed, so I suppose it would make it easier to prepare.
But then again, I suppose that he and the rest of the cast, and the production team had thought about it all prior to making the show. (Oh, wait, I'm paraphrasing Ben here).
Anyway, here's part III http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


One of these, like several other productions, the decision’s made to cut things out of it, for some things drop off, they drop off Eda, frankly miss him, not really, were there a dynamic that you shared about how this should be done because the speed of it is remarkable, to be remarked on, the speed at which you move, the speed at which the things suddenly move, so in that aspect the driving-through, there’s a reas- there’s an urgenc-, there’s really - there’s a fascinating contrast between the urgency of the action and the consideredness of the thought. The thought, in most of the soliloquies, is considered, and it’s not heard, it’s a rumination, it’s round this planet going around the earth, but the action is always (noises to indicate the action never stops, there’s always something happening). You must have agreed that between you.
 
Not really, no, I mean we sat down in the – I’m loving it, I’m not disagreeing with it, in doing the action, I enjoy it, it’s a long, it’s an extraordinary ask of a night, but it’s great, great, great fun to be involved in. When we sat down and first talked about the play, obviously years ago, I asked her to direct it, funny it was sitting in Regent’s park talking about it, and actually she said “do you have a Hamlet in mind –hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this – I mean, do you have a way, a thing that you want to do with it?” and I went “No I want to discover it in the rehearsal with you and a cast” so I kind of gave her a little bit of cut branch, I suppose, to…just extraordinary imagination and talent and, of course, as the designs evolved and the cast evolved –you know I had my improvement in read through and talking about this and this piece here that’s not there and I’d really like to keep that in or can we move that there? But it was an evolving conversation as well, it was so…None of us signed off from any of it until probably our press night this Tuesday when we went “okay. We’ve got a show that we’ve rehearsed, we know where the beats of the action are, we know when the intentions change within those beats of action, we know who these characters are through researching our ideas about them, our backstories based on research we did on the world of the play and the way in which we’re approaching it, so –I know we don’t have laptops and mobiles but- in some modern sort of the world, it’s not set 400 years ago or even earlier as Shakespeare intended it, but it’s something that’s relevant to now”. And from that we’ve crafted a framework which is going round and round and it’s still being investigated in, but safely within parameters that are agreeable between the cast and the production team and the extraordinary crew, so…Yeah. It’s a bold thing, but I think it’s the best thing. If you come knowing how you want to say these words, you don’t discover them every night, you don’t have fresh thought, you can’t make links you haven’t made before, you can’t go on a journey from the first time you say these words to the public to the last time.
 
Does the audience influence the way you say these words sometimes?
 
No, well, if I’m really honest sometimes you can have fire audience thinking it’s dangerous as an actor to do that, it completely takes you out of what you’re concentrating on which is a very specific moment by moment building of this person and his thoughts. But when it does, it’s all sorts of things, I mean I’m not gonna lie, there’s so much direct communication with that body out there that… Yeah. There are times, there are times, and it’s interesting what it does, it can propel you into an urgency to be even more direct and so, I’m just saying this to you, I’m not dressing it up at all, I’m not, I’m just having this thought and I’m sharing it with you. There are other times when there are a cough or two and you kind of, you know, wait a bit, so there’s some consideration but you know it’s a dangerous, it’s a dynamic every night, it’s a great dynamic.
 
The appearance of the ghost is key. How did you, how did you feel about the way you approached that?
 
 How do you mean?
 
Well let me put it in a different way, were you worried –
 
The ghost in the 21st century?
 
Yeah. Were you worried about that?
 
Of course, I was. And I mean we’ve talked about it, about bells and whistles and holograms but then –
 
Can I bust in your thoughts?
 
Yeah, maybe you should tell me what your thoughts are about that after I’ve done it for a few months.
 
No, no, no, it’s just that I think there are still ghosts they’re just inside our heads. I mean we’re full of ghosts, full of people who are dead and come back, I’m not talking at all like “Oh I am in touch with…” none of that at all, it’s just that our minds are full of ghosts. Our parents, and lovers, and friends and…So the idea of having other presences in our minds is what is part of our minds.
 
Well, for a play is about memory, about past, about death, it makes complete sense that there is a manifestation of that and I think, even though certain people within the plot also witness the ghost
– Horatio, myself, Barnardo but not, interestingly, Gertrude – it’s still, it’s very much what you say, the potency of how present a raw and recent absence can be, and though someone in flesh and blood is not there, you can still smell them in clothes, hear them in music, in sensory perceptions you have of the world that are still very real and then of course they are within your head like you said, there are… It’s the fabric of what makes us alive now, it’s what’s come before us and to ignore that is the danger, which I was talking about in the transgenerational trauma.
 
Absolutely. The two most powerful links we have to make, with our memories and the imagination. And Shakespeare objectifies that.
 
He does and I mean, to an extraordinary level, he also takes it into the theological realms of heaven and hell which do play a part in this, you know the ghost disappears into a ground. And there is some – there is very strong God-thinking in this play, whether it’s I can’t actually do it, whether I really do believe the hypothetically or at least within the bounds of religion, if I stab a man to death whilst he’s praying, I will send him to heaven, because he is praying.
 
And also, you’ll send yourself to-
 
Hell. Yes, exactly. And not really avenge my father.
 
No, and that is cons- a deep consideration which happens just like that, and he’s bound to take pause there.
 
Well he also then talks about, at the beginning when he talks about God he says, he uses God! as an exclamation the first time we hear him say Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God, God! It’s like an appeal, how weary self-flattered unprofitable, you know you’ve left me in this. I can’t counteract you edit, I have to live it out, but there’s nothing for me to enjoy, to love, to feel any more in this world, I’m bereft without my father in it and with everything that’s happened after his death.
And then in to be or not to be, it’s completely extrapolated from, God doesn’t end to to be or not to be at all so he evolves into a man talking about can I actually do it, can I take a knife and do it? And he realises even in thinking about what might come after death, it’s not even the act of doing it that scares him, it’s the result of his actions, so he can’t. But God doesn’t come into it. He doesn’t even think about his own damnation. It’s extraordinary. Shakespeare just toys with humanity and religion.
 
He talks about from “bourn from which”…
 
“The undiscovered country from whose bourn / No traveller returns”
 
The point is that, interesting isn’t it, because if he is in the, under the sort of canopy of Christianity which was the perimeter of thought, then there was somebody who did return. And that’s the point. Christ returned. And he puts up alongside that. Yet before he’s talking about resurrections and mortality –
 
And also after he’s saying he’s had an experience of the ghost of his father – but as we said, the ghost can be a manifestation of many internal things, despite it being witnessed by other people. I think that the people who do witness it, interestingly, are all of one generation, and that’s the only, again, the sort of foul crime that mirrors the transgenerational trauma : it’s skipped one generation, he’s not haunting Claudius, he’s not haunting Gertrude, he’s haunting someone who he feels con- through telling, through confessing and then take action on those perpetrators.
 
What do you think these foul crimes he refers to are?
 
Down to these days and nation, war. War. It was a very bloody period of history. I think that’s what he’s referring to. And while he had a kind of grudge watch which basically was, you know, it was a standoff between a king and a king, I mean that must have been one hell of a battle, and to then survive that – I think the man goes to sleep in his orchard because he’s physically, spiritually and utterly corrupted by what he’s experienced of life, in death, in war. So he goes to his orchard, by custom, always in the afternoon, and I don’t think he sleeps much. I think he sits there staring at the sun through the trees and then maybe has five minutes – Claudius’s waited in there for a bit of time before a crept in there with a murder weapon…
I think that a man who’s gonna be as tortured as that goes in his limbo between whatever it is, hell, well, hell, he’s in hell.
 
Well it speaks directly to what people are discovering about post battle trauma that are now deeply explored.
 
Yeah. Yeah, I think so.
 
And yet again, Shakespeare’s sort of there.
 
Well Shakespeare’s through the whole work, it’s extraordinary, well I mean, look at the history, it’s rife with the trauma of battle. If you follow Richard III for example, or through the Henrys to Richard III, you see the evolution of somebody who is brutalised by witnessing his father’s and brothers’ slaughter into being this ally of hell, really.
 
And then there’s this extraordinary notion that Hamlet puts on this antic disposition – where do you think that came from?
 
The play is extraordinary with madness, you’ve got a sort of senility or desperation to hold on, to control in Polonius. You’ve Hamlet saying I’m going to feign a madness. And you’ve got Ophelia’s deep, completely under the water, immersed, lost, madness, I mean she is mad, she is not pretending, that’s a woman who’s been destroyed by events and is brilliantly performed by Sian in our production. And also, too, I think very much Gertrude in elements as well, and then Claudius with his grief. It’s going further and further, deeper and deeper into madness, and using Laertes, to weaponise Laertes who then, at the end goes “This is wrong, this is all wrong, I’m about to do this to him, I’m doing this to him, I’ve just done this to him, this is all wrong it’s his fault”, you know, it’s all madness.
I think Hamlet’s antic disposition is interesting, my personal feeling is that there’s one very specific encounter with death in the shape of Yorik’s skull. Yorik was a court jester he remembers very fondly, somebody who could, in modern powers, roast a table of royalties, who had a kind of free passage, free pass, let’s say, in a very strict world and hierarchy to point out the faults and idiocies of those in power. And I think comedians and clowns within Shakespeare, I think that to experience that as a youth, he realises that he can retreat behind that mask of seeming zaniness and just slowly disrupt the court, and I think that’s what he tries to do, ‘cause it ripples. First of all it’s through his actions with Ophelia and he knows that’s gonna get back to Polonius, then it’s with Polonius who’s still –even if he’s a hangover from old Hamlet – very much in connectedness with the court of the new king, Claudius. So he edges closer and closer and it’s only when he has the kernel idea of the play [END OF PART III], that’s when he goes “right, now I can actually present this idea, weaponised with actors to the king.” And he feels he’s safe here. And Claudius thinks in straight lines, and Hamlet just riddles, curls him all through the play, it’s not just his own thought process any more, he doesn’t speak sense to Claudius at all.
 
 Note : why do I notice things that also pertain to the character of Sherlock (and the show in general) in everything he said?
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Last edited by Lilythiell (October 24, 2015 2:40 pm)


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October 24, 2015 2:39 pm  #23


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

Because you are obsessed? http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/devious.png
(and not alone, BTW)

 

October 24, 2015 4:25 pm  #24


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

Nothing's wrong with me ! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/tongue.png


Here's part IV -three more to go (very possibly doing at least the fifth tonight. I am on fire!)

What is he doing when he’s going by directions there, isn’t he, what is he teasing out, ‘cause he’s up to something when you – I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t seen it, but – isn’t this reverting or taking on, let’s say the marshal on the aspects, the war aspects which you take on in your antic disposition –
 
Yes, because it’s a country weaponising, there’s this huge military industrial complex which is creaking back into, well creaking, it’s going to overdrive, it’s making the night join labour with the day. It’s non-stop, 24h melting of ammunitions, it’s this big show of power, basically, and this sort of peripheral thing that’s going on. Hamlet sees this thing of domestic absurdity, diplomacy, being sent out to Fortinbras and old Norway and this militarisation thing can be disrupted by infantilising him, by creating something that is derogatory, which is this toy-soldier thing, this idea of making all the potency of a nation flexing its military might, it’s ridiculing it.
 
You’re mocking it, aren’t you?
 
Absolutely.
 
And you think he’s playing for time, there, do you think he’s using that in order to try to come to terms with what he’s thinking about but can’t yet –
 
We save time, but – There are many, many ways at looking at what the time scale is in this play, and I think that between seeing the ghost and the play within the play it could be a matter of a week, maybe? A couple of, a few days? It doesn’t have to be that long. So you think about the enormity of what he’s been asked to do by the spirit of his dead father, and he’s the only one who shares that conversation, no matter who else has seen the ghost, no one else is actually in direct communication with him. So it’s a procrastination, I think it’s a safe way, it comes to him quickly because I think it’s something that he’s seen, he’s a fay with acting, he knows what that is, he’s a fay with the craft of it and the skill of it, and he’s also a favourite clown in, and the brilliance of how a fool can navigate those in power and needle truth into them without it ever coming back on them. I don’t think he’s playing for time, I think he’s very considered.
 
When the room of generals have their great processions, being in their great glorious processions, there was a man beside them telling them that you’re only human. And you’re talking about you’re being partly in that position –
 
I think so, I think there’s a reason why he’s the court jester, he could have been something else, I think that’s quite a specific thing, a specific choice on Shakespeare’s part. There’s a moment of memento mori, it is irrelevant who it happens to. It’s a very specific choice of importance to this character – he’s someone who reminds him of his childhood and he’s acting out a lot of his childhood through this toy fort which was probably gifted by some noble in favour to young prince Hamlet.
 
When the players come in, it took me quite a long time to work out, I mean not in this production, but actually what he’s going for, he’s thinking it through, he wants proof – this is big, killing somebody himself, going to hell inevitably for murdering somebody else. He wants more proof, that a human could be like that, this is part of his laboratory, he wants to have a look at this. And in the course of that, Shakespeare says the most remarkable things about fiction and about art, about the way the imagination can turn reality into a fiction in order to make it real. Our brains can do it as well, this is even more extraordinary. We can see a real person, with nobles and so on, waiting. And he says that, it’s an axe, but it’s not an axe and yet he convinces him that it’s wood, and he confines it to the dreams of passion to force his soul into convincing us that he is like that, although it isn’t him. Hamlet wants to force his soul, doesn’t he?
 
Yeah, because what he’s seen in the craft of this actor is an ability to express a truth, and he realises at that point that he hasn’t expressed the glaring truth that his uncle killed his father. He realises then that it can’t be that, well it is of course basically because he’s a coward, he doesn’t have the guts to do it, so he winds himself up and realises he’s just ranting, it’s cathartic for him in a way, he hasn’t after he said O vengeance O scream O vengeance  because of the kind of richness of the language, propelling him towards this idea of truth and how this human being has to be destroyed because of those qualities in being remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain. It stops him in his tracks and he realises “oh no, no, no, just because I’m doing what an actor does, doesn’t mean I’ve changed my uncle, I have to do something to change him, to see whether this is perceptible and then I will do it, I will do it, ‘cause I’m fed up with who I am”, it’s not about the world. Well that’s the change, I think. It begins with O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I. It’s the first moment he turns his thought on him. It’s not about the world being poisonous, vapours or disappointing in its potential about what a human can be or it’s not about the disgust of what’s going on in the court with an uncle marrying his mother and a father who’s recently died, it’s not about his inability to take his own life because of a fear of something after death. It’s the first time we’ve heard him say “this in on me”, and then he braces himself, winds himself up because that’s not good enough to fly around in a rage, I have to do something, think, think, and the idea is there for him and it’s this weaponisation of theatre, it’s to present a parabol –a parallel to his uncle and see what his reactions are. But even then he needs his best friend to watch, just out of harm’s way to sort of know it’s not just him reading into his uncle.
The need for certainty is fuelled by the fear of his damnation and not doing right by his father.
 
If you hadn’t done Hamlet, would you feel that you had missed the greatest challenge?
 
Very possibly. Having now done it, very possibly. I never started out with a bucket list of great roles that I wanted to play. Of course, there’s been a lot of people coming up to me with the idea of it. It was more of a concept voice outside of my head than in my own head saying “Hm, you should give this a go”.
Having done it now I can understand now why people a year and a half ago when I said I was going to do it were like “Ooh, you’re doing Hamlet? Ooh. Good luck!” It’s huge, it’s just huge!
 
And the biggest part in Shakespeare.
 
Yeah. Well, I’m not one for counting knives and ours’s cut quite a bit, but I think it’s the biggest as far as expectations go, definitely, within Shakespeare, and a rightfully service, just an enormous amount to encompass and- But my answer would be, having done this challenge, I would have, I’d be gutted to think I never had the chance to do it. It’s the most nourishing, extraordinary experience.
 
Orson Welles said that this a play by a genius about a genius and it was the only play about a genius that the genius ever wrote. He wrote Macbeth and Othello, but this was the genius in full stretch. 
 
I can see why he said that. I think there is great genius in a lot of other characters though, Iago being one. Portia.
 


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I'd be lost without my blogger.
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October 24, 2015 6:29 pm  #25


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

Here's part V

But this unlimited – so many of you over the years, I’ve been watching Hamlet for over 50 years now, so many of you have done and found something different in it. One of the things that’s different about you is [END OF PART IV] the way you concentrate the soliloquies so…You’re doing two things at the same time. You’re saying “this is how I think” and “this is what I think” and they’re very different to you doing that and the second thing is that you’ve sort of a wild heart. He’s a very tender but very wild young man and intense, gushing upstairs, slashing across, trying to shake off what’s really infesting his mind. And I would think that Welles is right about that, there’s so many interpretations can be made, it’s one proof.
 
I was thinking that everybody has a Hamlet in them. And as Maxine Peake’s proven it’s not trapped in a gender thing either. There is a universality to the challenge of him that means that it’s a role that fits any actor. And that’s what’s exciting about the play.
 
One of the things that is marked is that, considering that he’s invented more than 2,000 words and brought into use 2,000 words that weren’t used before, and for a single person had the biggest vocabulary of any other writer we know of has had, his constant use of monosyllables which came from Old English, it’s wonderful, and his similes, I’ve come across so magnificent sentences I do not know why yet I live to say these things to do since I have cause and will and strength and means to do it (IV, 4)
 
And already the rhythm makes such clear sense of that. It’s about clarity of communication, and I think when he wants to have words waited for they are often shorter. It’s a terrible generalisation, but if you come up against moments like that, those great moments of self-laceration, he’s been exhorted by this army, this tender prince and it’s the last soliloquy, it’s the last time we hear Hamlet’s thought process as an audience, the last time we’re privileged to it. He doesn’t talk things through, he does across the narration, very personally at the end of the play but he’s in a position where he’s going “I cannot believe that I am still trapped in Fate rather than taking control of things” basically, and it’s about determining his own trajectory at that point. I think you hear those words just go bang, bang, bang, because they are monosyllables, because they are so tight and exact. It’s as much a choice of what he omits as what he includes, with Shakespeare, and the sparsity of that language –
 
And then the lushness of it – not in this play, though. "No, instead my hands will stain the seas scarlet, turning the green waters red" (Macbeth, II, 2 ) –  explains his own richness.
The scene with his mother, Gertrude, has been examined, layered by those actors – and it’s a scene where Hamlet bursts out of almost all constraints that he’s put on himself by his nature, which I persist to think is fundamentally tender, and also by the court which he says so eloquently – he’s a prince in a court that’s very tightly ruled and controlled, he’s not the main man by a very long way.  And yet he bursts out against the queen, his mother.
How did you arrived at the way you’re playing that?
 
 In many ways. He’s been sitting on this conversation for a long time. I mean, you know exactly how long, just over a month and a half, under two months. He wants to have an understanding from his mother, of how it is possible to follow desire and to completely renege on marriage vows to absorb herself in an activity which to him makes her ridiculous, let alone dishonouring the honour of his father.
 
To go back to your idea about his place in the court, she puts in charge, putting him down immediately –the[b] "What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue / In noise so rude against me?" (III, 4)– again, monosyllables.[/b]
 
Yes, that’s the full queen, that’s the full courtly queen, it’s slightly terrifying and what he holds onto is well “you are still my mother, and you are also your husband’s brother’s wife, you are widow to my father and I am going to speak to you as that person, my mother – “ I don’t think he’s spoken to her as his mother since he was five or maybe eight, I mean the idea of the tenderness of what he carries through and what you see of his tenderness through grief and then all the exonerating circumstances in the sense that the play forces on him – a father saying he’s been killed by his uncle, a court closing down on him, a lover betraying him, being witnessed by people behind closed doors, friends he then finds out betrayed him in order to serve a king he feels they basically ally themselves with the devil – all of these things are brought into this temperature and then he thinks the king is behind a … and stabs someone who is his ex-girlfriend’s father, his potential father who is now dead, in his arms, and he has the blood of his potential father on his hands, this man who –he’s been fooled, but still, there’s a great tenderness there. And then I think that’s when he reaches the pitch of his madness in the play, I think that’s when that whole evening cascades into a place where there are no limits anymore, “this conversation has to happen even though I have the blood of a courtier on my hands. I’m going to tell you about what you’ve done wrong in choosing my uncle and betraying the memory of my father. How could you?” Part of it is not just belittling of her and I think what you were saying about status just goes out of the window because of all the trauma he’s suffered. But also because beyond his fears making him so bold as he says about in another episode in the play, his need from her is to try and get her on sight, he really needs her to understand that Claudius is corrupt. And he does talk about it, he saysa murderer, a villain”, “A bloody deed! Almost as bad, good mother. As kill a king, and marry his brother” (III, 4). That’s a massive accusation, it’s almost complicity in the murder of his father that he’s talking about, and then the thing of a dead body –Shakespeare writes so brilliantly- you have a dead body in the room. You can’t ignore the dead body. The scene doesn’t go on and on because he has to drag the dead body off whilst saying good night to his mother which is almost tragi-comical, but in my mind it’s heartbreaking, this boy saying goodbye to his mother and he’s coming out of this position where he’s dragging someone he’s taken the life of – that’s probably gonna send him to hell- of out of her way, and –
 
 


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October 24, 2015 6:40 pm  #26


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

Thanks so much for transcribing this, Lilythiell!  So much work, and I'm so grateful. 

 

October 24, 2015 6:45 pm  #27


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

That's so great, Lily - two more to go, right?


Eventually everyone will support Johnlock.   Independent OSAJ Affiliate

... but there may be some new players now. It’s okay. The East Wind takes us all in the end.
 

October 24, 2015 6:58 pm  #28


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

Yes, two more to go, indeed, Harriet! I'm taking a break because of real life -but fear not next part will be here in a couple of hours http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/wink.png

Although I'm having so much FUN doing this, I wonder...


-------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'd be lost without my blogger.
"It’s not a ‘gang’ show, it’s the Sherlock and John show. It’s about developing their characters and their relationship, and the characters drawn into their orbit.”  Steven Moffat


http://i1060.photobucket.com/albums/t449/Lise_Delville/221BBakerStreet_zpspjgv45qk.jpg
 
 

October 24, 2015 7:00 pm  #29


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

a couple of hours ... - THUD 


Eventually everyone will support Johnlock.   Independent OSAJ Affiliate

... but there may be some new players now. It’s okay. The East Wind takes us all in the end.
 

October 24, 2015 7:01 pm  #30


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

... fastest transcriber ever...


Eventually everyone will support Johnlock.   Independent OSAJ Affiliate

... but there may be some new players now. It’s okay. The East Wind takes us all in the end.
 

October 24, 2015 7:15 pm  #31


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

You are a godess, Lilythiell! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/grin.png


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I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window there. Was there ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?

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October 24, 2015 7:16 pm  #32


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

I may be on the side of the angels, but... http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/tongue.png

Last edited by Lilythiell (October 24, 2015 7:16 pm)


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October 24, 2015 7:20 pm  #33


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

I can't resist posting the beginning of next part...please don't be mad, there's a word I didn't catch (marked with ???)

What he’s got to do is saying the unsayable which is part of the drive of the production, and now that is something that he’s spoken through and he can do that.
 
I think so, and I think that when the ghost appears and he tries to reason with his mother that however high the temperature of his behaviour, he’s not insane. He stabbed the wrong person but he meant to kill a king. He meant to kill a king who has killed a king, who has killed his father. He forces logic on Gertrude very, very strongly and that’s where I keep finding the hysteria of the scene sort of shrinks away to “no, no, no, it’s not just about you being frightened of me, me being out of control”. It’s about making her face her own actions and take responsibility for them, but she does by the end of the scene you have a son and a mother in complicity.
 
And a beautiful line in “Mother, for the love of grace, lay not that mattering unction to your soul, that not your trespass, but my madness speaks: it will but skin and film the ulcerous place, whilst rank corruption, mining all within, infects unseen” (III,4)
I’m wondering how diseases worked in this.
 
There’s a lot about diseases, I mean, he lived in a world where –I don’t really want to get to the debate of horse and sh*t - but to think he’s an actor manager, living in London, surrounded by actors who were fated as well as treated as muck but obviously who were in his eyes a very rare important species and he was in a London that was incredibly cosmopolitan –you had languages arriving through the ports, through courts, through a huge hierarchy who would socialise within taverns as well as in courts. You had this incredibly rich culture blooming, blossoming, this Renaissance and the idea that an actor manager would then send someone on a horse to a hole in Oxford –I don’t want to get too involved in this, but every time I think about this I’m just, how did they do it, with the preview– I mean he didn’t have a director to whom he sends a text and then change the whole production because of it, but it’s an extraordinary ???  to me that just because he was educated at a Grammar School, which apparently was an extraordinary Grammar School, that he shouldn’t be capable of this genius. And we have Mozart, we have Einstein, we have people who have an extraordinary volume that’s just ready to be given to the world, they are cyphers for extraordinary depths of understanding in that particular field.
 


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October 24, 2015 8:59 pm  #34


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

And also observations, I mean they’re all founders, there’s no more than seventy references to Globes in Shakespeare, each one of which is accurate.
 
Which meets with my point about disease because disease is rife in this play because of mortality rates –he’ll deal with death and illness all the time, whether it was in his company or people he knew, and you’re right about that and its manifestations beautifully, and he writes about the troubles of the soul but really visceral, real, earthy, directly relatable, sensory perceptions of what our reality is, as well as the more poetic extrapolated hypothetical, ideological, moralistical Church or God-orientated thinking it seems and you know his methodology’s beautiful in its abstraction, but there’s real directness because he was a man of his world, utterly.
 
In the second half of the play, we have this sort of mutilated landscape with armies, devastations, and wars, rumours of wars going on there, and Hamlet is changed. Can you tell us how, and in what way Hamlet has changed?
He’s had this sort of profound experience where partly through his own daring but also through about sixteen coincidences going his way, he’s managed to navigate himself out of his custody, realised that he’s been sailed to his death in England, forged a note whereby the people sending him to his death are sent to their death, then some pirates turn up and he’s managed to grapple into their ship and, having taken away from that boat become their prisoner but treated royally because he is royal and obviously because there was some kind of economy there, we don’t get the full discussion but they’re gonna be served a good term, and he then sets back naked on the Kingdom –I think the nakedness, of course it’s a riddle to unnerve Claudius, of course it’s like “Ha! Didn’t think I’d be coming back, did you? And guess what? I’m naked” The nakedness I think confuses Claudius more than it does Hamlet, to me he’s naked in his intent: he’s coming straight for him like an arrow, there’s no bullsh*t, there’s no – I mean saying he’s naked, he’s the biggest riddle he’s gonna get, he’s coming at him with a gun, or a blade, whatever the motive for revenge, the act of killing him is, because not only does he have his father’s death to motivate him, he now has the direct order for his own execution to motivate him.
And it’s extraordinarily modern, this is a network of kings plotting people off from one another, in the form of an extraordinary rendition, it’s the incidents we’ve had recently in our culture with terrorism. In a sense, Hamlet does try to terrorise the state with his actions in the court, he’s killed a courtier and he’s upsetting the marriage of his parent before he’s shipped off to England to be despatched. This man who’s seen, I think basically what’s happened in all that, is that he’s seen, he’s looked into the distance in a philosophical way, he has seen some – he has seen parts of death himself, he’s seen parts of the undiscovered country because he’s faced the reality of his own imminent death, forced on him rather than being contemplated in suicide. And that makes him into somebody who feels he can take charge of his fate to some degree, but at the same time realising an awful lot of it has been deemed just blind sheer coincidence to go his way. So he’s riding on this wave, but there’s a profound maturity to him, so when the court then takes control of him again, after the graveyard fight confrontation, he submits to it because he feels whatever’s going to happen was always going to happen. And we can try to interfere with this as much as we can, but the inevitable event of death, of just fate, the next thing to happen, it comes.
And then you get into this realm of extraordinary Buddhist acceptance of causal happening really, it will fall out, so let be, just stand back, and accept, and he just gives himself to his fate.
I think he knows it’s not necessarily going to be a death match, but if you’ve come back, fought with someone whose sister and father you’ve killed, who’s then been sent out by a king you want to kill, you know who’s killed the king your father, to a fencing match, the most traditional formalisation of violence a court ever had…Well, something’s up.
And I think that this idea of the court receiving him as “no, this is an entertainment, things have calmed down now after the incident at the funeral”, but it’s still ridiculously uneasy, which is why that terrain is on the stage, it’s there, and it destabilises people when they separate from the violence and try to ignore it, it’s the stains as a metaphor for Laertes and Hamlet who are thrown into killing one another.
 
There’s a madman who’s sent away because he was mad, so the rumour’s got maybe taken in that direction, that propaganda we’ve got to get rid of him because he’s mad, he’s dangerous to the state, we’ve got to get him out.
 
One of the reasons he engages with the grave digger is to try and find out, what he realises is he hasn’t been recognised, what the word on the street is, and what’s the rumour in the tavern about this mad Dane, what world am I coming back into? And he’s very careless in the way he comes back, in any version, you know he’s met Horatio, there are letters involved, all these people outside of the court to get hold of Horatio to make sure they meet at a certain place at a certain time. He’s very much coming to the palace through the back door. So he is on a trajectory from – he stared death in the face really and immediately with the warrant, with being on that ship, with escaping the pirates. He’s come back with a real, grounded, mature sense of purpose.
 
We have with this great, this amazing political philosophical play, and then pirates turn up! It’s great!
 
It’s wonderful! It’s wonderful! Just when you think –
 
Well, there you go! Throwing in some pirates, he’s terrific.
 
I wish I had a time machine, to ask “when you wrote him out of the play, when you wrote him off to England, did you ever think Crap! How do I get him back? I need a slingshot of fate –pirates! That’ll do it! They’ll sail him back”. But you know, it’s easy to mock –
 
I’m not mocking, I’m delighted!
 
I think that’s the thing though, some people do raise their eyebrows at that, but I just think it’s remarkable, the level of playful invention involved in that, and of course yeah going back to a man of his world as well, there would have been pirates, then as there still are now, a very real thing in a world where everything was determined by fate at sea, so why not pirates? Why not?
 
[END OF PART 6]
 


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October 24, 2015 11:16 pm  #35


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

Here's the final part. I hope you're enjoying it as much as I enjoyed typing it down!

When you finish the performance, what do you feel when you’ve stopped –
 
I feel tired and hungry.
 
So that’s the answer. So, you’ve taken your bow, and for a while, anyway, Hamlet is diminishing in yourself, what deposit is there with you I mean, what has happened in the previous three hours or so?
 
Oh, it’s a really good question. Can you ask me after three hours of it tonight, and I’ll tell you?
It’s very hard you know, because so much of this is a moment by moment process, it really is. You can’t afford to look back or worry forward, when you do that you become very unstable in this role, in any role I think. You have to somehow manifest how at any given moment, rather than – and that’s not a dodge to the question, ‘cause I know what you’re talking about, this sort of idea of what hovers, what keeps vibrating, remaining…
It’s interesting. Dying on stage every night it’s…yeah, you do have some odd thoughts in that moment, you really do have odd thoughts. The stepping stone for me, the thing at the end I carry through with is, as an actor, as a technician, as someone who’s got to do it again the next night is to immediately start to self-critiquing what can be managed better and fixed or changed or…Just looking forward to the next night for new discovery. Of course, there’s a relief, of course there’s a *exhales deeply* There’s an out, there’s just an out. To put it very simply there’s just a “That’s it. That’s it for tonight”, just a sort of full stop (or semi-colon.)
The impact is more about that, it’s more about who’s watching it out there than what it does to me.
 
It is very important, I mean you’ve made contact with, without yielding an inch or a millimetre in the way you do it, and I got sitting through it, so many generations –I mean they didn’t fill the place for those not substantially there in a way they’re not substantially there for things like this, because that must be terrific.
 
Yeah, and that conversation is rewarding in whatever form it happens, especially for a play of this magnitude, it’s really thrilling to bring it a new audience, that’s a terrific thing and that does stay with me. Then I drop it very, very quickly because I have to eat and sleep and that’s honestly the truth, and get home to a new-born son.
 
When we got this programme assembling for a lot of Hamlets years and years ago, we talked of the motion directing ????????, and he said that each generation wants to express its own anxieties and Hamlet enables them to do this. What anxiety do you think of the age must be?
 
That’s a fantastic question. Despite having a lot of communication, being lost in your own thoughts, to be in the company of a man who questions what it is to be alive, to have a profound disconnect with the world around him and yet talk a lot about that, Oh Christ I’m not a social anthropologist, or moral philosopher, it feels dangerous saying this, but perhaps there’s a modern relay which is reflected in and ethotised, or somehow bared by being in the presence of a man who shares his anxiety about how hard it is to be true to something, how hard it is to deal with death or not being happy in the world that’s around you. There’s a great deal of unhappiness in our world and in youth culture now and forever, there’s always an anxiety about identity, about purpose, about what it is to be mortal and what it is to play with that, whether that’s being a goth or an emo or a punk or a radicalist or a terrorist or somebody fighting for a cause, standing up to question those in power to rock the status quo, to try and fulfil a purpose as a human being and a soul. There’s so many universalities, I think, across generations. To this particular moment I’d say maybe it’s that, there’s a soul screaming out to be understood in the most profound language of English and I think what he tries to communicate is what a lot of people feel, too embarrassed to communicate something, so maybe there’s a healing, cathartic experience in being with that man. And also just – he is a loser, he loses, he dies, let’s not forget that, I mean he’s not someone who wins, and yet he’s a profound anti-hero within that structure of loss. And I think that can give people a lot of encouragement, because we lose more than we win in life.
 
After the end, the deaths which Shakespeare brings to a close so rapidly and the speed it’s like fast – I mean, like the best of fast –
 
What Fortinbras says, is that death has done so many in a single – he was expecting to have a diplomatic discussion and the whole court is bleeding to death, poisoned to death on the floor.
 
The almost epitaph is when he says to Horatio Tell my story. Why does he want to say that?
 
Because he can’t. His breath is escaping him and his death is imminent and his life is literally fleeing – he knows he’s on the last few words in his life, and the most important thing is for him to tell the truth of what’s happened in this court because otherwise anybody could come and impose a spin on him. He’s suffered under Claudius doing that for the whole of the play. It’s so important to have Horatio –the audience, the narrator, the witness, the storyteller- to carry that legacy forward otherwise what has it all been for? What a waste! What a beautiful, pathetic but ultimately useless waste! And at least with Horatio guarding the legacy, the truth of what has happened with Fortinbras taking position in that empty power-vacuum at the end, there’s a chance that they will move on as a nation as well. The truth will help to bury all that has been done. And that won’t happen again. Because it’s only through denial, it’s only through guilt, it’s only through arch manipulation that all of that horror has arisen in those moments with the earth, with Claudius’ guilt, with what old Hamlet has done and Hamlet’s actions within the play. So, hopefully in that moment, that’s not just about Hamlet having a life beyond the grave and the truth being saved, but also the nation.
 
Although in one way, it’s the most closed ending you could imagine, i.e. every body’s dead, he’s still saying “no, no, this is to be retold”.
 
And that’s what we’re doing every night, we’re story tellers, I guess, and that’s the beauty of it, you know. It’s an incredibly important responsibility to tell stories and Horatio is loaded with the motherload of stories of this world. It’s a very heavy responsibility, it changes them I think, you can hear that in the way Leo (plays Horatio) delivers those lines, he finds a new certainty in the profound sense of loss of his best friend and horror at what he’s witnessed but there’s also a huge responsibility and he can’t lose himself to grieve, he’s got to give that message.
 
That’s a beautiful symmetry, the first friend he sees is the last one he sees…
Well, thank you very much.
 
Thank you.
 


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October 25, 2015 10:54 am  #36


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

Wow, wow, wow, thank you so much! Reading this will be my Sunday afternoon occupation, thanks again! 

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October 25, 2015 11:34 am  #37


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

You're most welcome, dear http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


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November 1, 2015 1:17 am  #38


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

I finally had the chance to watch this interview this morning, I haven't had very good internet speed for a while so had to wait until the new month started. I looove listening to Ben talk about Hamlet and Shakespeare and, well, anything really


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November 1, 2015 9:18 am  #39


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

(Wow, just made one of my best reading mistakes ever - "I looove listening to Ben talk about Harriet and Shakespeare and, well, ..." - fine, sweet Ben, go ahead! LOLOL)

Last edited by Harriet (November 1, 2015 9:24 am)


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November 1, 2015 9:25 am  #40


Re: Hamlet interview for The South Bank Show

Shakespeare's not naming his play after you! Tee Hee.


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