Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 8.0023. Wednesday, 8 January 1997.
From: Andrew Walker White <
Date: Monday, 6 Jan 1997 12:10:17 -0500 (EST)
I was talking to a friend who attended one of the seminars conducted by Kenneth
Branagh and Sir Derek Jacobi, when they had their preview showing in
Washington, D.C. Mr. Jacobi (or is it Sir Derek? We colonials have no clue
about these things ...) recounted that while filming the play-within-the-play
scene, Branagh went through around 8 takes on his reactions alone: "do it
angry", "do it bored", "do it mystified", etc.
When Jacobi asked Branagh which take he would use, he got 'I'm the Director
here, I'll decide which one to use', something to that effect.
Since the film won't be opening officially for another few weeks, I'd rather
hear what Branagh's final choice was. But I thought this amusing little story
would serve as a good springboard for discussion. Pennington in his new book
argues that Claudius' reaction to the play should be a blank, showing no guilt
or awareness of guilt whatsoever. This argument is not new to me, but I have
real problems with it.
I'll withhold my arguments for now, but was wondering what sorts of reactions
seem justified, given the text, in our member's opinions? (My only comment
being that I felt Alan Bates' interpretation was by far the best).
Cheers, Happy Twelfth Night