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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: November ::
Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2194  Tuesday, 18 November 2003

[1]     From:   Edward Pixley <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Nov 2003 09:27:46 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 14.2176 H B Carter's Ophelia [generation conflict]

[2]     From:   D. Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Nov 2003 09:16:13 -0600
        Subj:   RE: SHK 14.2176 Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Edward Pixley <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Nov 2003 09:27:46 -0500
Subject: 14.2176 H B Carter's Ophelia [generation conflict]
Comment:        Re: SHK 14.2176 H B Carter's Ophelia [generation conflict]

>I have been thinking about Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia.  Esp, just
>before the mad scene, there is a scene where O asks Gert "Who is the
>beauteous queen of Denmark?"   It occurred to me that as HBC played it,
>it was really a power struggle between the two, which of course O loses
>hence the mad scene to follow.  It reminded me of the scene in Glass
>Menagerie where the mother upstages the daughter in front of her
>suitor.  It all got me thinking about the extent to which the tragedy of
>Hamlet is not in some way driven by the refusal of the old generation to
>quit the stage.  It occurred to me that in Elizabethan Revenge Plays,
>there is a certain amount of the drama which depends on a
>transgenerational duty.

The Ragner Lyth (Swedish) film of Hamlet (c. 1970) makes this generation
conflict a central image of the production.  Of course, this was from a
period where both Europe and the US were in an intense generational
conflict  -- partly anti-Vietnam protest.  The Columbia and Sorbonne
riots of 1968, the Chicago Democratic convention demonstrations of the
same year, and the standard refrain -- "you can't trust anyone over 30"
-- are emblematic of the period.  "Jesus Christ, Superstar" and, in the
U.S., "Hair" and "Godspell" exemplify this generational conflict in the
theatre.  Just as in "Hair," no one comes out a winner.  Horatio's
attempt to report Hamlet's story is ignored, and Hamlet's body is hefted
out disrespectfully, as if it is going to be dumped on a garbage heap.
Fortibras costume suggests Viking, while Hamlet's final costume, on his
return from England, has a distinctive punk influence, dyed hair and
all.

Ed Pixley

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D. Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Nov 2003 09:16:13 -0600
Subject: 14.2176 Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia
Comment:        RE: SHK 14.2176 Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia

Dana Wilson writes:

--I have been thinking about Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia.  Esp, just
before the mad scene, there is a scene where O asks Gert "Who is the
beauteous queen of Denmark?"   It occurred to me that as HBC played it,
it was really a power struggle between the two, which of course O loses
hence the mad scene to follow. --

I don't know whether this is a typo or an actual replication of what
Bonham Carter said. The line is "Where is the beautious maiestie." I was
so startled I actually went to the trouble of looking it up to see if my
memory might have been mistook.

Did she really take it upon herself to improve Shakespeare in that
fashion?

Cheers,
don

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