Saturday, March 14, 2015
V.ii. Duel and Deaths - Slings & Arrows
Slings & Arrows also plays on a behind-the-scenes irony: The sequence is intercut with shots of the audience, and among them (just off-stage), Mark McKinney's character, the theater manager Richard Smith-Jones, was, through the whole of Series 1, trying to undermine the Festival's Shakespearean mission, and push a Broadway Musical agenda. By turns the equivalent of Claudius, Gertrude and Polonius, in the end he is a Fortinbras figure, there to supplant the "Danish" regime, and yet, like Fortinbras, reluctant in the end to do so. It illuminates a character we don't see a lot of in the play. Norway's prince may have conquered Denmark, but so potent is the play and its central character, that he is filled with regret and elevates his defeated foe to a higher stage, somehow becoming a kind of Hamlet, one that can carry on.