The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1769 Tuesday, 17 July 2001
Date: Friday, 13 Jul 2001 21:00:50 +0100
Subject: 12.1689 Hamlet: The Cuts; Fortinbras: The Tour
Comment: Re: SHK 12.1689 Hamlet: The Cuts; Fortinbras: The Tour
>A leaflet I received from the National Theatre (London) this morning,
>reminded me that John Caird and Simon Russell Beale and members of the
>company of the current production of HAMLET will be leading discussions
>at 5.30pm over the next three days, 3, 4 and 5 July on various aspects
>of producing Hamlet.
>Unfortunately, I will probably not be able to make them, and I was
>curious as to whether anyone who is going might be kind enough to send a
>few comments on what transpires at these platform performances?
>The first, 'Hamlet, the cuts' particularly interests me, but
>'Fortinbras, the absent prince' on 4 July and 'Elsinore and beyond, the
>tour' on 5 July also sound potentially worthwhile.
I made it to the last one (I was still in the US for the first, and with
a baby, I had to choose which of the other two to attend and have my
husband watch the baby--a pity, since I was also particularly interested
in the first!). It was interesting, but not so much from an academic
standpoint. The high point of the tour appears to have been performing
in Belgrade--evidently they were the first touring group to come to
Belgrade in about 10 years. One point I found interesting was that it
was deemed necessary to change a few words, depending on where they
were. Polonius's line about "the ecstasy of love" had been changed to
"the lunacy of love." It seems that each night until they changed it,
there would be a small number of audience members laughing at that line,
and it was determined (somehow) that people were making some connection
between the line and the drug ecstasy. The line was changed in England,
but not in, say, the US, where ecstasy isn't as much in the news (and
where it didn't get the laugh). On the other hand, in the US,
Claudius's "O heavy deed" was changed to something else that I don't
recall. I'm not sure how critical that one was, since I as an American
was sitting there being confused about the need to change this, til
Caird pointed out that heavy is a slang term in the US.
If anyone went to either of the others, I'd love to hear about them.
(Caird did start out by stating that they wouldn't be answering any more
questions on Fortinbras--as he put it, "Fortinbras has left the
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