Tuesday, November 8, 2011

II.ii. O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I - A Midwinter's Tale

Michael Maloney's lively Hamlet actually jumps into the aisles for his rendition of this speech, letting out all his venom right at the crowd/camera - or at least, the angry section where he screams names at his uncle. Interaction with the audience is one element that naturally can't be part of movie adaptations, but is still an important part of staging the play theatrically. This is where films ABOUT staging Hamlet can inform us. A Midwinter's Tale's Hamlet starts with a machine gun being fired over the heads of the audience, and follows up with a Hamlet that first appears at the back of the room. Though Faj's set design is cheekily described as "people in space", Branagh is true to that idea in his direction. The use of space includes the audience and makes for a visceral watching experience. It helps that the play is staged inside an old church, rather than a standard theater. It removes the demarcation between play and audience, placing the latter IN the set, in the atmosphere.

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