Monday, October 11, 2010

Hamlet, by the Royal Shakespeare Company

I spent some time trying to get through the backlog on my DVR.  I watched Zodiac on Friday and got to Hamlet today.  It was the one the Royal Shakespeare Company did with Patrick Stewart and David Tennant. 

Stewart was great, as always, but it really creeps me out to watch him play the bad guy.  Tennant did just fine.  I judge my Hamlets by whether, in any given scene, I honestly have trouble determining whether he is mocking people or actually insane. The actress playing Gertrude did something interesting: she was a bit less affectionate with Claudius than I recalled.  And every once in awhile, she gave him a look as though she might like to spit on him.  I can dig that.  Polonius seemed just a little less annoying than usual.  Does that mean the actor was better or worse than usual?

Now that I am thinking about it, all of the characters seemed a bit muted. 

I have come to the conclusion that my problem is Brannagh.  Once Brannagh has done it, the game is over.  Another generation probably thought the same way about Olivier.  But Olivier didn't have the luxury (in film, anyway) of using the entire text when he did Shakespeare.  Or Austen, for that matter.  So that is it.  Brannagh wins.


John said...

I still think his best role was Iago.

"Help! Help! Murder!" (looks shiftily at the fourth wall; runs off)

Anne said...

And that is still in by To Be Watched DVD pile. I was going to re-read the play before watching that veriosn, but that obviouisly isn't going to happen.

Kristin said...

I saw Brannagh in the stage production of Hamlet in Stratford-upon-Avon. I know what you mean. I don't think anything could compare.