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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Peter Brook's Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1095  Thursday, 10 May 2001

[1]     From:   H. R. Greenberg <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 May 2001 16:16:35 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1076 Re: Peter Brook's Hamlet

[2]     From:   Steve Roth <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 9 May 2001 15:04:16 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1076 Re: Peter Brook's Hamlet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           H. R. Greenberg <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 May 2001 16:16:35 EDT
Subject: 12.1076 Re: Peter Brook's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1076 Re: Peter Brook's Hamlet

Re the Brook Hamlet, the prime deviance I noted in a not uninteresting
but hardly inspired production was a Claudius who welcomes his death as
justly deserved, with a notable deletion of the   Help Ho  I do but
bleed  rhetoric and his implicit acceptance of a sword thrust (no
poisoned cup, drink this down so forth) from Hamlet.

Good production for youngsters in that it really simplifies the action,
although the Finnegan's Wake ending as beginning is certainly about as
far from the original as one could get, as opposed to a mere elision.
HR Greenberg MD ENDIT

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Steve Roth <
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Date:           Wednesday, 9 May 2001 15:04:16 -0700
Subject: 12.1076 Re: Peter Brook's Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1076 Re: Peter Brook's Hamlet

At 11:12 AM -0400 5/9/01, David Bishop wrote:

>Brook's love for the actor gets identified with his love for
>the character.

>David Warner's 60s student-rebel Hamlet, he's a pure soul whose anger is
>always justified. Did anyone who's seen it get another impression?

I also saw the Seattle production (front row for closing night). I found
that Lester did a very good job of putting across Hamlet as an intensely
angry, annoying youth-to the point of being scary, even to himself. The
fairly one-dimensional, always-smiling Claudius wasn't an effective
foil, however. Likewise for the fluttering, anxious, aged Gertrude
(Brook's wife, I'm told).

And you're right, this ringing nobility always shone through Lester's
Hamlet; I never really disliked him as I think one should.

Overall I found the production effective both intellectually and
emotionally. The music was a great contributor--a musician stage left
throughout surrounded by an apparently eastern/asian/indian "trap set"
of exotic instruments. An area where theater has generally failed to
match film--using music to create powerful emotional moods--done very
effectively here.

I even found a tear for Alexander in the graveyard, which I've never
experienced before. What's Alexander to me....? The final scene was the
main exception. It was so cut, denuded, and rearranged, that it had
little emotional impact. Even a dozen or two dozen more lines, in their
proper order, would have provided the emotional catharsis that I, at
least, seek from this play.

Intellectually, though, Brook's use of Act-One lines to close the play
was interesting. (If you haven't seen the production, plan to, and don't
want to know how it ends, stop reading here):

Horatio, at the front of the stage, gazing and pointing up into the
lights at the back of the theater, speaks one of my favorite lines: "But
look, the morn, in russet mantle clad, walks o'er the dew of yon high
eastward hill." Then, "Who's there?"

It nicely puts across the play's role as harbinger of the modern world.
Not moving, but a propos.

Thanks,
Steve
http://princehamlet.com

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