Sunday, November 10, 2013

Act IV Scene 4 - Tennant (2009)

An omission on my part, because it was out of normal order and I'd lost track of it, is the scenes that includes the speech "How all occasions do inform against me". Doran introduces it later than usual, where Hamlet's letter would normally be read, as a way to juxtapose its final line "my thoughts be bloody" with Laertes' own bloody thoughts just before Claudius comes in to seduce him into murdering Hamlet.

The modernized staging is interesting, with the camera up above as if Fortinbras and then the Captain are looking up at a helicopter, either dropping men off or taking them in. We're still on the same black, mirrored stage most of the play is filmed in, but with snow on the ground, contrasting with black soil and black sky (once we change angles). Hamlet is out in the cold, in darkness, lost. It gives the scene an eerie, dream-like feel, as if these are spirits come to taunt him in the night. The Captain, with his wry barracks humor, smiling contemptuously at the meaningless war he's been asked to fight. Fortinbras, standing in for the ghost of Hamlet's father, a warlike action man throwing Hamlet's inaction back in his face. Fortinbras waging a war for no real reason is the anti-Hamlet, ALL action and no thought, and is meant to prompt the Danish prince TO action.

But look at what actually happens in the staging of it. Hamlet's first reaction is to sit down and talk! The video diary device introduced earlier is hear used to justify the soliloquy, in which Hamlet perhaps sarcastically calls Fortinbras "delicate and tender", and ends with the entirely ironic "my thoughts be bloody." My THOUGHTS. So while Hamlet seems to be telling us that NOW he will act, he does not actually move beyond thinking of acting.

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