The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2252 Monday, 11 November 2002
Date: Thursday, 07 Nov 2002 22:44:06 -0600
Subject: The Danish Play
A propos of the thread about disasters in productions of <Macbeth>:
I remember having read that John Barrymore, who was always immersed in
his roles, ran a Laertes through in the fifth act of <Hamlet>. But no
one ever retailed that story and added that "the Danish Play is a
dangerously unlucky play". They commented instead about Barrymore's
hyperbolic drinking and/or his emotional involvement.
Most productions of most plays are somewhat unlucky. I was A.D. almost
30 yrs ago of a production of <Measure for Measure> at a minor
Shakespeare festival in the U.S. when the actor who was to play
Barnadine fell backstage during performance and broke his leg. I had to
choose among the eager male cast members who wanted the role. I chose
the one with the most professional experience and then ran lines with
him for a few minutes backstage and he put on the costume of B. and came
out right on cue as a very funny Barnadine.
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