Monday, April 07, 2008

Buzz Buzz

Students have a very irritating habit of asking questions – not the sort of thing I would normally encourage … especially when I am busy doing much more important things (like trying to justify my wages).

You can normally fob them off – ‘Really, you ought to know that by now! How long have you been studying the play?’ or, another good one, ‘Have you read the references you were given last week?” (That’s great because 1) They haven’t; 2) They won’t; 3) You haven’t either.)

Over on … playshakespeare

The question has been asked –

What is the most
challenging part of Hamlet?

Sitting in the audience there are three parts that regularly fail for me:

The Ghost.

Mad Ophelia

The chainsaw massacre ending.

The actor’s greatest challenge has surely to be the ‘Rocky Horror Show’ speech –

To Be or not to Be … (Buzz Buzz).

Thinking about it, I have only ever seen one good ‘live’ ghost – that was at the Royal ExchangeTheatre in Manchester, many, many moons ago – Philip Madoc was doing a season there and doubled the role of Claudius and the Ghost. It was a brilliant performance (although the production was too longgggg!).
The Ghost is key – you have to believe in the ‘spirit’ or the meaning of the whole play goes through the window (I stole that idea by the way) – therefore you have to believe Hamlet sees it.

Film has it easier: The dry ice of the stage (surely no one does that nowadays?) pales when compared to the special effects of cinema.

I’ve never seen a totally convincing Mad Scene on stage – you always seem to see the ‘technique’ of the actress. Again, you’d think, film has an easier task – but no amount of fancy cutting and technique will help if you don’t have an actress who is ‘as-nutty-as-a-fruit-cake’ in real life – which is where Bonham Carter wins hand down (‘sandwich-short-of-a-picnic’ that one!).

Well, the ending – I can’t watch it without ‘Queen’ pounding in my head –

Boom, Boom, Boom - And another one bites the dust!’

As for acting difficulties – can any actor face THE speech without the cold chill of audience participation freezing his bones?

One day soon it will fall over the edge – Rocky Horror Show joining in (way beyond the 1000 choir Sound of Musics) will happen.

To Be

Buzzz Buzzzzzz

Or not, to be


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