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Home :: Archive :: 2009 :: January ::
Real Skull Used for RSC's 'Hamlet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0036  Tuesday, 20 January 2009

From:      Donald Bloom <
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Date:      Thursday, 15 Jan 2009 09:17:18 -0600
Subject: 20.0027 Real Skull Used for RSC's 'Hamlet'
Comment:   RE: SHK 20.0027 Real Skull Used for RSC's 'Hamlet'

I have to confess that I am touchy enough that it would disturb me that 
an actual skull was being used for Yorick. Perhaps not as much as the 
use of an actual corpse for the body of Ophelia would, but something 
like it.

On a related matter, Larry Weiss comments: "I would wager a fair amount 
that the casualty list Henry reads after the battle of Agincourt is 
almost always in the paper.  Why bother to memorize that if one can 
actually read it?"

Opinions and practices differ, but I find actual text distracting on 
stage if I have to read it. Reading aloud is something I do a great deal 
of in the work I get paid for, and I don't like to get dragged back into 
that ("Oh, God, he's reading another one of his favorite quotes again. 
What page are we on?") when I have to maintain a character. (At the 
opening of Much Ado, Leonato has to paraphrase from a letter announcing 
the arrival of Don Pedro. I have no clue what's actually written on the 
letter I hold in my hands, and I want none.)

On the other hand, a list of names might not be so distracting and it 
would be tedious to memorize. And, finally, there'd be little or no 
"character" involved to develop -- or lose.


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