Friday, November 5, 2010
for the last three days ive woken up with lines from hamlet in my head. this is not surprising, ive been re-reading it non-stop since i saw the play last wednesday (and watched a film version i hadnt seen the week before to gear up for the performance) and yes, im fully aware of how weird/nerdy/dorky that is. some of you might not know (tho i dont know how you would have missed this) that i was an english lit major in college and was kinda a closet theatre major, which manifested in many ways, not the least of which was that i took at least 3 shakespeare courses (one of which was taught in london where i saw 6 of the 7 plays we studied on stage). this after having read at least 6 shakespeare plays in high school and growing up going to 'wayne v-- patron of the arts night' every summer since i was 10 years old which entailed attending whatever performance of shakespeare oak park festival theatre was presenting that year at austin gardens. so, yeah. i cut my teeth on this stuff and have spent a lot of time with a few of the plays, whether seeing them, reading them, or writing papers about them. twelfth night (for obvious reasons) king lear (for no special reason) and hamlet (for reasons to be divulged below) are the three i know incredibly well.
somehow in all of this, you might be surprised to know that tho i have been a part of quite a few theatre productions over the years, i have never once acted shakespeare. i say this as a form of transparency. i dont have first-hand knowledge of the language in my mouth for hours at a time, nor the embodiment of a shakespearean character in my self. truth is, i would love to. viola has always resonated strongly with me (that should have been a clue at some point), and when i stop lying to myself and just come out with it, hamlet is my dream role. (yes, im aware of how self-dramatizing and exactly like every stereotypically-full-of-themselves actor that is. i know, i know. [insert slight self-deprecating head shake here]) but its true. i would kill to play hamlet. or maybe i should say i would wait to kill until the very last moment possible when im practically already dead, to play hamlet.
the point that i started out to make is that ive been living and breathing this play recently and i think i have a pretty damned good idea of how i would want it to be done if ever i were a part of producing it. (i promise you now that i will never ever propose directing and starring in it, tho id like to do both, separately...) right, point being: i want a queer hamlet.
i want a hamlet who used to be with laertes, then moved on to ophelia when her brother left the country, has had a thing going with horatio for some time that comes to a head (pun intended) during the course of the play, used to mess around with rosencrantz (whose new boy is guildenstern), flirts with guildenstern out of spite, has probably played with at least one of the players, and generally runs the whole show by flirting with everyone.
i want the nunnery scene with ophelia to be a coming out moment, i want his speech to horatio about how good a friend he is to end up in a make-out session, i want all of his interactions with the players to impress the fact that he is playing all of the time with everyone (and is a ham himself), i want the closet scene to be like sisters talking about the men in their lives, i want every interaction with R&G to be lewd and dirty as hell, i want ophelias madness to also stem from her discovery that hamlet and her brother used to do it, i want laertes' anger with hamlet to be partially fear of being outed, i want most of his 'antic disposition' and wordplay to be more along the lines of being a diva, (with lots of camp, even queening) and flirting, all of that coming to a peak with the osric scene. the point being he knows how to control people and when there are a lot of them paying too close attention to him for any actual revenge to happen. therefore he 'speaks daggers but uses none' and flirts with those who enjoy it to get what he wants, and with those who dont to make them uncomfortable.
and the best part is, i promise im not just making shit up. i mean, kinda, but everyone is allowed interpretation from the text. but honestly, the text can support all of these things. there are so many cock jokes in this play i cant even count them.
do me a favor. re-read hamlet with these things in mind and tell me if it isnt one of the most fun and biting and dramatic shows you can think of.
ray i-wish-shakespeare-could-be-my-boyfriend van fox