dear_prudence: (Default)
still in stratford!

our gorgeous friend giselle, who is currently living and working in england, came up to stratford to see us while we are here. she's staying at the same b&b as us, so we hung out last night, and then she came over this morning so we could go for a walk together and have some breakfast. we took some food down to the banks of the avon and sat there and ate for a little while, but all the giant geese and swans kind of freaked my shit out, so we ended up leaving pretty soon (but not before giselle got BITTEN BY A GOOSE!).

lady macbeth statue encountered on our walk

sajee patting falstaff's belly

we decided that it would be fun to take a boat ride on the avon, and it turned out to be a very pleasant way to spend half an hour. this town is incredibly busy and crowded, so being on a boat was actually quite relaxing and quiet two photos from the boat )

after that it was time to head back to the courtyard theatre for the matinee of hamlet

i ran into a woman from wardrobe and she told me that david tennant would be making a stage door appearance today, but that most of the time people who haven't actually been to the show line up around the barrier well before the show is over, and that if you come out once the show is finished you'll be too late to get a spot on the barrier where you're likely to get an autograph. i pondered this as i went into the theatre and decided, after much angsting, to duck out at interval and wait at the stage door from then. woudn't have done it if i hadn't seen the play the night before, but this was probably my one chance to meet him in person and wasn't going to miss it! it turned out to be a good plan )

you could see him taking a deep breath and bracing himself before he came out, but while he was out there he was completely gracious and charming. we spoke briefly, and he was very sweet. i marry him now, k?
dear_prudence: (Default)

fucking. hamlet.

i don't actually know where to begin with this...

the overall look was a modern one, and reasonably minimal, which they made work really well (it reminded me of the rsc production of 'a midsummer night's dream' that i saw about 15 years ago where the only props the players had were doors, umbrellas and ribbons). they made amazing use of light - particularly in the first scenes with all the confusion about the ghost - it was all torches and reflective surfaces and it really evoked a sense of fear and charged the scene with a frenetic energy. with the combination of that, and the main set pieces being mirrors and chandeliers, the designers and director found a metaphor in the design for the key themes that run through the play - madness and sanity, good and evil, hope and despair - the play explores these things, and the even more interesting liminal places between them.

hamlet's madness was beautifully interpreted by director gregory doran and by mr tennant. in some productions it's played with a kind of wild abandon that in my opinion diminishes hamlets intelligence and the overall design of his feigned insanity. yes, he has moments of doubt and incredible anxiety, but he never truly runs mad - it's all a show to help him in his purpose avenging his father's murder. tennant played an almost doctor-esque, goofy, funny lunatic, while interspersing moments of perfect lucidity, and that made him so much more believable as a bereft son on a mission that felt he was "cursed... that ever [he] was born to set it right."

by contrast, ophelia's heartbroken insanity was heartbreaking in it's turn. the family scene (act 1, scene 3) where she, laertes, and polonius talk together, sets up their closeness and affection as a trio, and this makes it all the more painful when polonius dies. in some other productions polonius' death is interpreted as comic because of the witty remarks hamlet makes about it in his mad ramblings and evasive responses to enquiries about where he has stowed the body. but polonius' death is what drives ophelia mad - her grief for her father is what pushes her over the edge, and this production made that so elegantly clear. mariah gale played ophelia as a passionate, exuberant young woman at the beginning of the play, and that set up the tragic inversion of her innocent exuberance into a passionate insanity that was perfectly beautiful, and unbelievably sad.
it was interesting to read in the program that in preparation for the part doran and gale went down to the river where a young girl called katherine hamlet drowned when shakespeare was just fifteen. they picked flowers and made garlands, and in the process found some of the flowers and weeds described by gertrude when she reports ophelia's death to the king and laertes. they saw that in order to pick them "her skin would have become muddy, scratched, and red-raw with [nettle] stings." and that's how she appeared on the stage - in a muddy slip, covered in dirt and grime, clutching an armful of bedraggled weeds. it was exquisitely sad.

this company definitely found the humor in the play too. i think that's what i loved most about it - the gravity of the themes, and the genuine pain and turmoil of the characters was conveyed absolutely believably, yet the humour in the text was honoured as well. the two funniest characters ended up being polonius (played by oliver ford davies as a lovable but slightly doddery man who, in is rambles, tended to lose his train of thought) and the grave-digger (played as i think my inexperienced australian ears interpreted as a yorkshireman by mark hadfield), though tennant's sensitive timing and clever inflection made this hamlet a very funny one too.

and from the fangirl part of my brain?
1. barefoot!tennant = hot
2. bleeding!tennant = hot
3. crazy!tennant = hot
4. horatio/hamlet = otp

further thoughts after the second viewing.

in other news, none of the actors made an appearance at the stage door. i waited, with a handful of other fans, and for two and a half hours, but in the end we were too cold and tired, and we figured that he must have left some other way.
having come so far i was pretty disappointed not to get a glimpse of mr tennant 'in real life', but after the harassment he has received from some other fans i can completely understand his reluctance to meet any of us any more.


dear_prudence: (Default)

December 2010

2627282930 31 

Style Credit


RSS Atom
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 06:57 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags

Most Popular Tags