Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hamlet, et al

So, I went to go see Hamlet by the State Theatre Company last weekend. It was good. I have a post about how much I love the Festival Theatre and all the wonder ful things that I've seen there. but for now, let me just tell you a bit about Hamlet.

First, Hamlet. Is. An. Emo.

Has no one noticed this before? You know how the first scene is the ghost scene, and then the next scene you have the court and Claudius is talking, and Hamlet is off to one side. He gets a couple lines, then everyone parades off the stage, leaving Hamlet to his 'too, too solid flesh' solil.

So, in this production the stage is set up with this huge circular war-memorial, covered with Danish names (like Karl and Olufsson, you know the deal), in front of which the ghost scene takes place. This then opens up to reveal the court scene - and Hamlet, standing folornly at the front of the stage, staring, miserably, into space over the audience. He is dressed, head to foot, in black. No surprise, his father just died and he's in deep mourning. He is wearing, however, a black knee-length coat with its fur-lined hood pulled up over his head. With Cameron Goodall's gaunt, tragic face staring out.

At this point, let me say that Cameron was excellent. The whole cast was excellent (except for one person, *cough* first line in play *cough* overacting *cough* but we'll move on) but Cameron Goodall was wonderful. And I'm not just saying that because he went to my University and I now have a crush on him. No, sir.

The thing I liked best about his performance was how normal he was. He was perfect for the crazy scenes, the rants and the soliliquies, which I admit is important in your Hamlet. But when Hamlet is sane and normal... Cameron was sane and normal. you could imagine having a conversation with him in a bar or whatever. The whole cast were obviously comfortable with the language (you'd want to be) so that sometimes I stopped noticing that it wasn't the kind of language I use day-to-day. I went to go see it with my 16 year old sister (it was her easter present from me) and she didn't know the plot prior to seeing it, and she had no trouble following what was going on or being said.

I also liked that the Hamlet-Ophelia bit was played sweet rather than nasty. So I'm a sap. So what. In this one, he loses it at her because he figures out that they're being watched and he's had enough, not because of anything she does, per se. And his 'get the to a nunnery' was without double-meaning, for once. I cried twice, once when Laertes (who had a ripping Aussie accent and looked like Jean Reno) sees Ophelia mad, and once at Ophelia's funeral, when Hamlet looses it and comes out of hiding and L and H have a fight over who loved her more. This is the thing - even the overblown bits Cameron managed to pull off well, so that they seemed to come from the heart not from an overblown sense of drama.

I guess that's what acting is all about, right?

Anyway, the thing is, I really enjoyed the play, it made me realise how much I love theatre (when I was in high school I wanted to be a Stage Manager) but it's left me a bit sad. You see, it reminded me of when I was like that, of when everything was hugely significant, of when I was in high school and in love and deep and angsty.

I'm glad I'm not that now. I like my life without overblown drama and bad poetry and pretentious pining. But somehow I miss that depth of feeling, that sense of wonder that you don't get without the gloom. Over the gloom, but I guess... I just miss it. I feel old. I'm 23! I should still be swanning around imagining myself in love and feeling like I'm the centre of the universe!

Only, I just don't have the energy.

However, it was a timely reminder that life is not just for knitting and chocolate. Or, whatever. Martha Stewart and Simple Magazine.

On that note, I was thinking these thoughts and I came across this post. I think it is appropriately themed - obviously, since I commmented.

Also, I think I should tell you that it is raining, and it has been doing so since last night, and everything is wet.

It's so good... I've missed the rain.

1 comment:

telfair said...

That sounds so fabulous! I LOVE Hamlet and I've read it so many times, but only seen it done as a play once. I want to see it again now!

Raining here too. Funny, how one misses the rain when one hasn't had it for awhile!