The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0424 Tuesday, 9 May 2006
Date: Tuesday, 09 May 2006 14:10:08 -0400
Subject: Female Hamlets
At Joseph Papp's Public Theater in the 70s Diane Venora played Hamlet and
brought tears to my eyes (or maybe it was just Hamlet that brought tears
to my eyes, again). The costuming was Napoleonic, lots of uniforms.
Venora seemed to be, and played Hamlet as, a teenage boy in the throes of
becoming a grown man -- and making it by the end. "The readiness is all."
Her interpretation spoiled a bit by the casting of Horatio and R&G as
mature men. Costuming also put one in mind of Bernhardt as Rostand's
L'Aiglon, thus of Bernhardt's Hamlet, which was condemned by Max Beerbohm:
"I cannot, on my heart, take Sarah's Hamlet seriously. I cannot even
imagine anyone capable of more than a hollow pretence at taking it
seriously... the only compliment one can conscientiously pay her is that
her Hamlet was, from first to last, tres grande dame."
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