Tuesday, November 11, 2014

V.ii. The Readiness Is All - Fodor (2007)

In Fodor's version of the play, Osric and his attendant Lord are figures of almost cartoony disposition, but with a definite sinister streak. As Hamlet and Horatio stand against a white wall - he, sorry for what he's done and she, disappointed - Osric and the Lord are intercut walking, taking the lift, etc. They even have a theme, Coming by Goldie, and "What were the chances?" sampled over their arrivals and departures, an ironic phrase since we know full well the King will put his plan into action now. Just as Horatio approaches Hamlet in comfort and forgiveness, the spell is broken by a comically fast Osric, handing the Prince his card. She is bemused as the Lord creates a set around them - a couch, a table, a plant - and this turns into the sort of interview one might have with an insurance salesman.

So when Osric tells Hamlet he's hot, it's like a test. Do YOU think it's hot? Oh you think it's cold? Okay, let's write that down. And so on. Osric has this fake laugh to indicate he doesn't really understand what the Prince is telling him, or perhaps to disarm him. Meanwhile, Fodor cuts frequently to the over-expressive Lord, just standing there making kooky expressions, or licking his chops lasciviously. The comedy is grotesque so as not to jar too much with the horror of the piece. Belchambers runs through Hamlet's lines in quick, mumbling fashion, but the character's almost incidental after a while. The camera only likes the other three. Horatio is very much amused by Osric and his big wager calculator until a words resonates with her: hangers. It's an executioner's pun. A bell sounds. And from then on, Horatio loses her good spirits and watches Osric carefully. And he looks back at her. They're the two people in the room who understand what's really happening, and Hamlet seems completely oblivious. Osric's face in slow motion as he waits for an answer, like a predator in a nature documentary.

After he leaves, Horatio's warnings make her sound like the wise one, and Hamlet seems naive. Belchambers doesn't give the famous lines from this sequence any kind of gravitas, murders it in fact. No readiness from him, literally and perhaps even on the actor's part. But "let be" and fade to black.

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