Thursday, August 11, 2011

III.i. Briefings - Kline '90

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern's appearance is cut from Act III Scene 1, leaving us to imagine them giving Claudius their meager findings off-stage. We instead start with Claudius asking Gertrude to leave so they can spy on Ophelia, the proper start of the second briefing. This Gertrude doesn't seem to mind and is content to obey her husband. Ophelia, for her part, is enthusiastic! She evidently believes this ploy will work and that her father's theory is likely the correct one. After the scene recounted by Ophelia earlier, who could blame her? His first show of madness, as far as Elsinore is concerned (Horatio and the soldiers were sworn to silence), was to Ophelia. Most actresses use how shaken Ophelia was in that first sequence to inform her meeting with Hamlet, apprehensive and hurt rather than hopeful, but playing the opposite is quite correct too. Hopefully, that choice will play out in interesting ways later in the scene.

Josef Sommer's Polonius remains as pedantic as ever, instructing his daughter on where and how to walk, as if talking to a child, which is all the more ridiculous given his Ophelia's apparent maturity.

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