Thursday, December 11, 2008

London VII: Hamlet

Well guys, this is it: the very last England post. As I'm writing now, tucked safely away from a frigid blizzard on New Year's Eve almost 3 weeks after coming home, I realize what an amazing opportunity this study abroad provided me with. If I doubted my ability to organize, execute, and cope with international travel before going to England for three months, that doubt is gone now. I am a travel maven (see My Stupid Summer -- details to follow)!

And, perhaps more importantly, I saw Patrick Stewart playing King Claudius (and Old King Hamlet, as it were)! I'll spare you the plot synopsis this time because - let's face it - you either know the plot already, don't care about it, or weren't going to bother reading the details in the first place. (Lazy-author syndrome? Never.) They set the stage in a modern, elegant fashion, and abridged it terribly, but none of that mattered because - as you may recall - I saw PATRICK STEWART in HAMLET.

Let me run that by you again: Jean Luc Piccard with hair, Professor X in battle armor, King Henry II in a tux (if you haven't seen the 2003 remake of The Lion in Winter, go watch it; see the Peter O'Toole original while you're at it). Do you see that gloriously shiny, bald head in the middle of my blurry photo? Yes. That.

Unfortunately David Tennant threw his back out the day before, so Edward Bennet will be playing the lead for the show's entire London run. He did a pretty good job for his first night, but I really missed Tennant's LLL antics on the stage. The mischievous side of Hamlet felt forced and unnatural when Bennet performed it, and he opted for a classical interpretation of the character. I have no doubt Tennant would have played up the whimsical and toned down the melancholy, but then -- I suppose -- we would have to discuss Shakespearean performance theories, and I just don't have the energy for it right now.

No comments: