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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: November ::
Re: Doubling in *Hamlet*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0890.  Saturday, 5 November 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Cary Mazer <
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        Date:   Friday, 4 Nov 1994 08:53:41 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0886  Doubling in *Ham*
 
(2)     From:   Jim Helsinger <
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        Date:   Friday, 4 Nov 1994 10:37:55 -0500
        Subj:   RE: Doubling in Hamlet
 
(3)     From:   Skip Shand <
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        Date:   Friday, 04 Nov 1994 11:39:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0886  Qs: Doubling in *Ham.*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary Mazer <
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Date:           Friday, 4 Nov 1994 08:53:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0886  Doubling in *Ham*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0886  Doubling in *Ham*
 
For David Kathman,
 
The role of the Ghost and the Player King were doubled in Ingmar Bergman's
production of *Hamlet*.
 
Cary M. Mazer
University of Pennsylvania
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jim Helsinger <
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Date:           Friday, 4 Nov 1994 10:37:55 -0500
Subject:        RE: Doubling in Hamlet
 
Yes, I did a production with the Alabama Shakes. Fest. where the Player king
and Ghost were the same. Wonderful. You got two major father figures for
hamlet being the same person. Worked great for hamlet and the audience. Just
as interesting was  Polonius as the First Gravedigger,  so Hamlet is talking
to the man he killed as the man is digging his own daughter's grave.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Skip Shand <
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Date:           Friday, 04 Nov 1994 11:39:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 5.0886  Qs: Doubling in *Ham.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0886  Qs: Doubling in *Ham.*
 
In a heavily doubled production at Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille, the
Ghost doubled into Player King, 1st (only!) Gravedigger, Pirate, and even
(through some innovative sleight-of-hand involving Ghost's filmed image
projected on fog in 1.1) into Barnardo. The impact of her lost husband's
apparent return in the play-within would have been powerful for Gertrude
in any event (not that it was read, or intended to read, that literally,
but there was no avoiding a kind of remembered presence awakening memory
and even conscience), but Passe Muraille pushed the moment much further,
picking up on the idea of court members as occasional performers (as in
masques), and having the Player King silently invite Gertrude to take the
role of Player Queen--she was given a mask and a script, and so she herself
uttered the protestations of eternal faithfulness before resuming her seat
and observing, profoundly shaken, that the lady doth protest too much.
 
Not a style for everyone's performance of *Hamlet*, certainly, but in the
context of this particular production, and in this particular theatre (the
birthplace of the collective movement in Canada), the moment was integrated
and powerful, informed by improvisational techniques which were the hallmark
of Passe Muraille. Just remembered: Ghost also returned as Fortinbras! This
production ran at Passe Muraille from late 1983 into early '84.
 
                                                        Skip Shand
 

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