Sunday, January 9, 2011

II.ii. Brevity - Fodor (2007)

Polonia's brevity speech is a seduction scene. As she makes her case, lacing her speech with false concern and furtive smiles, the tribal drums behind her voice turn to a driving dance beat. The lighting becomes more and more blown out, and the camera represents more and more the King's point of view. His head sways from side to side, like a man hypnotized by a snake, and though they're discussing a serious matter, he smiles through the whole thing.
Gertrude notices the effect Polonia has on her new husband and after failing to dismiss the younger woman's words, she becomes more apprehensive. Lines cut from this section turn one in particular on its head. When Polonia says "Your son is mad", the Queen immediately throws out "More matter with less art", giving it a sarcastic turn that attacks Polonia's bluntness and obviousness. Polonia ignores her, fixating on the King throughout, and continues with "Mad let us grant him then", since everyone agrees with her thesis. Gertrude loses ground quickly through this scene until we're well into the King's POV and her lines turn into a foreign language (sounds like German, but I can't be sure). He no longer hears her.

As Polonia reads her sister's letter, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern look at each other lasciviously. The Ghost is still walking around. The characters in the play are much more exposed in this version, often present when Shakespeare dictated they should not be. As we get to the section's climax and Polonia's plot to spy on Hamlet and prove his madness, the dance beat goes up tempo, and R&G turn into Polonia's back-up band, and then it all cuts out. The lighting effect and music disappear as Hamlet and Horatio enter the room, breaking the spell. Awkwardness ensues...

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