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    Iím watching the Maxine Peake Hamlet in Amazon Prime.

    I must confess that Iíve never really understood why Hamlet is such a dick to Ophelia.

    And then her subsequent mental break doesnít quite feel ďearned.Ē I suppose it conforms to stereotypes of female mental illness that were prevalent at the time. Iím confident seven million pages of feminist theory have been written on this, but I donít really feel like reading it.


    I always feel like Hamlet and Ophelia should be younger. But I guess not many young actors can do the part. Romeo and Juliet has the same problem.
    Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 09-05-2019, 01:32.

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      Originally posted by WOM View Post
      Sounds like a pared-down Iceman Cometh. I love a good 90 minutes play, too.
      Slight spoiler but this was one where the iceman doesn't cometh but relationships fray while they're waiting for him.

      I have never been to see one of the big O'Neill plays, trusting my gut feeling of dread at the running times. I couldn't face Gatz, the onstage reading of The Great Gatsby, a couple of years back. It sounded fantastic but eight hours in a Victorian theatre seat very much wouldn't be.

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        Originally posted by Hot Pepsi View Post
        I always feel like Hamlet and Ophelia should be younger. But I guess not many young actors can do the part. Romeo and Juliet has the same problem.
        The text mentions that Juliet is 13 and Romeo, while his exact age isn't specified, is presumed to be a couple of years older. I think it'd be a hard sell to a modern audience without effectively raising their ages by casting older actors. Actually, I'm not sure how widely it is performed anyway; I don't want to see it again so don't keep an eye out. Despite being so well known, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't make the top ten of most performed Shakespeare plays.

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          So, it turns out that R&J doesn't make the top ten most performed for the rest of the world, but comes in at number two for the US.

          Shakespeare is the most important writer in the history of the English language. Which play is his seminal work?

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            Originally posted by Benjm View Post

            The text mentions that Juliet is 13 and Romeo, while his exact age isn't specified, is presumed to be a couple of years older. I think it'd be a hard sell to a modern audience without effectively raising their ages by casting older actors. Actually, I'm not sure how widely it is performed anyway; I don't want to see it again so don't keep an eye out. Despite being so well known, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't make the top ten of most performed Shakespeare plays.
            Really? I'd have thought it was in the top 5, because it's fairly easy to understand the plot.

            When kids read it in junior high or high school, they often get the idea that it's a story about a great love or that that's what romance is supposed to be like. But I don't think that was WS' intention. It isn't just about love. It's about young stupid love, which is more exciting and beautiful in many ways than proper grown-up-people-making-smart-decisions love, but always ends in tears. Or, as the case may be, blood.


            In the Baz Luhrman film version, Clare Danes was 18/19 and Leonardo DeCappreo was 25/26, so that worked ok. But I've seen it with somewhat older people and, even if they're good, it doesn't quite land the same way. I keep thinking "You two need to get a fucking grip."


            Likewise, Hamlet is really just a story about a rich college kid with depression who hates his step-dad, doesn't know what to do with his life, has fallen-out with his high school girlfriend, and no longer trusts his college buddies. That makes more sense in a 22-year old than a 35-year-old.

            It's also about a young woman/girl with an overbearing sexist dickhead for a dad. Her meltdown makes more sense if she's younger. That was one of the elements that really worked in the Ethan Hawke version (which nobody but me has seen, I think). Julia Stiles is Ophelia. She was about 18 at the time. Bill Murray is Polonius and treats her like she's 5.

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              Originally posted by Benjm View Post
              So, it turns out that R&J doesn't make the top ten most performed for the rest of the world, but comes in at number two for the US.
              That makes sense. I'm surprised A Midsummer Night's Dream is number one with a bullet.

              I'm not sure I've seen A Midsummer Night's Dream. I want to see them all, but I don't get much chance to see anything live so I'm depending on films, which aren't always good.

              I always get MND mixed up with As You Like It, Twelfth Night, and Much Ado About Nothing.

              Hamlet is my favorite of the ones I know.
              Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 09-05-2019, 22:17.

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                That's a good point about the age of the lovers informing the nature of the experience rather than it being a one size fits all deal. Antony and Cleopatra has lots of stuff about middle aged regret and the sense of time running out, as well as each of the protagonists being very self conscious about how this late episode might detract from their accumulated glories and achievements.

                I remember seeing the Laurence Olivier film of Hamlet, made when he was 40 odd, and thinking that, while he could still nicely fill out a pair of tights and do the jumping around, he was a bit long in the tooth for the role.

                Edit: the board seems to be loading replies slowly this evening.

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                  MND is at the top because it combines being "considered accessible", is a comedy and is attractive for ensemble casts (a number of decent parts for both men and women, with none of them being terribly hard).

                  The cast of the 1999 film illustrates this rather well, as does its frequent appearance in the Public Theater productions in Central Park.

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                    Also the comedies largely follow the same pattern (mistaken identity, harmonious resolution) which may favour the market leader because the less well known titles don't necessarily offer anything very different. The tragedies and history plays each tend to have a stronger individual identity.

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                      Very much so.

                      Though I am a bit surprised that Much Ado isn't higher in the rankings, as it became a "thing" here after the Branagh/Thompson film and is even more of a staple with the Public Theater (they are doing it again this summer). A key part of it recent popularity is that it lends itself to "themed" productions better than MSD.

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                        I turned the Cup final off at 1-0 on Saturday to go to the theatre (what's happened to me?) and had a far more engrossing time watching Rosmersholm, a magnificently intense, full-on yet subtle political drama. Recommended.

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                          Originally posted by Ray de Galles View Post
                          Tomorrow night I'm going to see 'The Life I Lead' at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park, a place I've never heard of before.

                          It's a one man play with Miles Jupp playing David Tomlinson (Mr Banks in 'Mary Poppins' and Professor Browne in Bedknobs & Broomsticks') who had a peculiar back story.

                          It might be a bit of an oddity but I love Jupp's work and it's got really good reviews so giving it a punt.
                          This was great, by the way. A wonderful script and performance - funny, compelling and quite touching in places. I mention it now because it's getting a short West End run at Wyndham's Theatre in September (following 'Fleabag', no pressure eh?).

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                            Off to see Rutherford & Son next week at the National, only as my parents are down and wanted to go. I know nothing of the play, but it does have Roger Allam as the lead at least.

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