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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: February ::
Re: Keanu Reeves (Hamlet in Winnipeg)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0119. Saturday, 18 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   Shirley Kagan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Feb 1995 17:54:32 -1000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0110 Re: Reeves
 
(2)     From:   Paul Hawkins <HAWK@CONU2.BITNET>
        Date:   Friday, 17 Feb 1995 19:40:44 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Keanu Reeves's Hamlet
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Shirley Kagan <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Feb 1995 17:54:32 -1000
Subject: 6.0110 Re: Reeves
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0110 Re: Reeves
 
Mr. Mills;
 
I don't know if this will make you feel any better but I'm a generation Xer all
the way - I even hate that term to describe the generation - that's
authenticity for you!  So, not to speak for my generation but at least for
myself - Keanu leaves A LOT to be desired.  His range as an actor is
tremendously limited and I wish people would stop casting him in roles he can't
play.  It makes everone look bad.  I hate to be cynical, but doesn't it make a
certain amount of sense that Winnipeg's local press would praise Keanu's
performance?  Think of what this stint is doing for the tourist industry
alone!.
 
Jadedly yours,
Shirley Kagan
University of Hawaii
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Hawkins <HAWK@CONU2.BITNET>
Date:           Friday, 17 Feb 1995 19:40:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Keanu Reeves's Hamlet
 
Sorry if this response is a little belated.  I enjoyed the London Times review
of Keanu Reeves's Hamlet; in fact, of the reviews that I have read it was far
and away the most satisfying, both for its description and sensitive commentary
on the performance and the production, and for its comments on what makes
Reeves special as an actor.  I experienced this first-hand in 1985 when I saw
him in a one-act play at the Rivoli in Toronto.  His presence on the fairly
primitive stage of that small club had something of the effect on me that I
later imagined must have been the effect on the audience of Marlon Brando's
performance in the stage production of *A Streetcar Named Desire,* to judge by
the accounts that have been written of it.  Keanu Reeves, on the probably by
most who were there now forgotten occasion that I mention, was to me
electrifying:  sexy, sensitive, assured, intelligent, controlled, and
unstoppably watchable.
 
I'll be the first to say I haven't seen anything in his movies to compare with
that-- *My Own Private Idaho* comes closest, of the films with him that I've
seen, but his performance even in it is not of the same order as the one I saw
live.  While I didn't find much to praise, and like others, did find much to
criticize in his performance in *Much Ado*--I did not think him embarrassing.
To me, the example of Keanu Reeves should teach some humility to actors and
critics, when I reflect that in even the most mediocre Hollywood actor and
star, which Reeves may now be, there is more gift, unique spark, and potential
than in *most* of the skilled performers I see in my nation's (Canada's)
theatres.
 
The London Times review is, of the handful I've read posted on this group or in
magazines, the one I trust, and is all I have to go by since I won't see the
production (perhaps it's already closed). Most of the others say something
like, "He didn't disgrace himself," but do not demonstrate through their
description how it is that he failed to do more.  That smacks to me of critical
dishonesty and cowardice.
 
Some recent posters actually *want* Reeves to be bad.  Are there no negative
reviews?  Post them! (One recently said).  I'm glad Reeves is playing Hamlet,
and glad that in the London Times, at least, he has found a serious reviewer.
 
Paul Hawkins
 

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