The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1346 Tuesday, 4 July 2000.
Date: Friday, 30 Jun 2000 11:09:27 EDT
Subject: 11.1330 Re: Berliner Ensemble's Ham.
Comment: Re: SHK 11.1330 Re: Berliner Ensemble's Ham.
"How were Ophelia and Gertrude played by the same actor both present in
the mad scene played "straight?"
Laertes and Claudius were present, and the actress playing
Gertrud/Ophelia/Hooded-Masked figure confined herself to Ophelia: there
were only the three actors and the omnipresent percussionist on stage.
What I meant by "straight" in this instance is the tendency of actresses
playing Ophelia to go over the top in the mad scene. This tendency, when
added to a distinctive director's interpretation can lead to some
squiggly moments. This Ophelia sang, writhed and was cutely mad. (I saw
Bergman's HAMLET at BAM years ago, and besides being condemned to
perform in a cerulean leotard, the Ophelia also succumbed to the cutes.)
A brilliant doubling-moment in the Berlin production was at the
graveyard scene. Present: Priest, Voltemand, Osric, Laertes, Gertrude,
Hamlet, hooded figures, drummer. All in sharp pools of light, with deep
shadow in between.
After Hamlet's line, "What, the fair Ophelia?" (Was? Die sch