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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: May ::
Re: More *Hamlet*s
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0396.  Wednesday, 17 May 1995.
 
(1)     From:   David Meyer <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 16 May 1995 19:32:06 +0059 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0391 Re: *Ham.*
 
(2)     From:   Edward Rocklin <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 17 May 95 00:36:51 PDT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 6.0391  Re: *Ham.*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Meyer <
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Date:           Tuesday, 16 May 1995 19:32:06 +0059 (EDT)
Subject: 6.0391 Re: *Ham.*
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0391 Re: *Ham.*
 
I saw Michael Higgins play (uncut, 4 hour) Hamlet with the Yellow Springs
Shakespeare at the Zoo in Toledo, Ohio, when I was a kid, in the 50's-- a
performance that changed my life.
 
I later had the privilege of seeing Higgins as John Proctoer in THE CRUCIBLE,
off-B'way.  Another definitive performance. G.L. Horton
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Rocklin <
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Date:           Wednesday, 17 May 95 00:36:51 PDT
Subject: 6.0391  Re: *Ham.*
Comment:        RE: SHK 6.0391  Re: *Ham.*
 
I would like to add to David Richman's comment on the Central Park Hamlet with
James Earl Jones, Colleen Dewhurst, and Stacy Keach (Hamlet). I saw the
production about 20 times (I was working in the box office that summer) and
what casting Jones as Claudius made clear is the payoff of a stronger rather
than weaker Claudius:  the stronger, more imposing Claudius is, the more
intelligible some aspects of Hamlet's delay seem to be.  If nothing else, Jones
was a Claudius who made it obvious why Hamlet would NOT imagine simply
murdering him in any easy fashion.  (In fact, at the end Jones opened his arms
as if to crush Hamlet in a huge embrace).
 
One evening in particular also created what remains for me one of the most
vivid illustrations of what live theater can occasionally do that will never
happen on the page.  The set was a three level set with the second and third
levels essentially steel catwalks, the third level so high it was above most of
the audience. It was on this level that Jones performed Claudius's solo and
fruitless prayer.  This itself was a powerful image, a tortured Claudius almost
suspended over us.  In addition, it was a rainy summer--some performances
simply got rained out. One night, however, the rain started but was light
enough so that the performance continued.  And continued as Jones began this
scene.  Howerver, when he stretched out his hand-- and his hand seemed to be
over us-- and said "What if this hand were thicker than itself with brother's
blood? Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens to wash it white as snow?"
the rain simply stopped.... A wonderful moment indeed.
 
Edward Rocklin
 

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