Who comparisons aside, one part that made me smirk, especially with the episode of a certain show lined up in the schedule for Saturday, was Hamlet's instructions re annoying so called comic relief loudly trashing their way through the performance. I promised I would try and not be so negative re that show, and I dare not, but let's see what young master Hamlet has to say on the matter of obnoxious buffoons:
And let those that play
your clowns speak no more than is set down for them;
for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to
set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh
too; though, in the mean time, some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered:
that's villanous, and shows a most pitiful ambition
in the fool that uses it.
What he said. It wasn't funny then, and it's not funny now.
Oh, but he ain't finished yet, not by a long shot, and this is clearly old Bill firing several heavy shots across the bows re atrocious thespians. Too, too funny and sadly, far too true, to this day. Go to it, m'lad:
Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to
you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it,
as many of your players do, I had as lief the
town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it
offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
for the most part are capable of nothing but
inexplicable dumbshows and noise: I would have such
a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it
out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.
Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is
from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the
first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the
mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of
the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone,
or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be
players that I have seen play, and heard others
praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely,
that, neither having the accent of Christians nor
the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of
nature's journeymen had made men and not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
Snork! Wheeze! Your crap acting. I like it not.
What can I say? Having sat through some very dicey plays, films and tv shows of late (as well as, it must be said, some rather dandy pieces as well), I feel like I could print this off and post it to several well deserving miscreants (stop ruining my show). I know, so much for my resolution to be kinder and more forgiving this year. Well, Hamlet started it (she says, childishly).
But man, he has a point ('I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines' was the line that really got me smirking, oh yes, insert the usual suspects here).
Despite my nodding over the theatrical meta criticism, and ticking off all the lines (I swear you could put together the entire play by cutting together quotes from elsewhere) I really, really enjoyed this version of the play, especially now that it's been so long since I saw it on the stage so I was no longer quibbling to myself over which version was better (though the tv version naturally lacked the crashes and bangs and smoke of the live performance), and I was just enjoying the version presented before me. It was good. I liked it. It pleased me.
Poor old Hamlet. Not even he could escape the Robbie Williams treatment. Sorry, old in-joke. We used to have to sit through the end of Casualty waiting for something or other to come on and every time somebody carcked it they'd get that bloody Robbie Willuiams song, every sodding time, until we started joking that 'it ain't over until Robbie Williams sings Angels', and so when poor Hamlet gets threatened with angels singing him to his rest, well, giggle. Okay, so you had to be there. Yes, MST3K-ing Hamlet. Well, they did it, too.
Btw, I think I preferred Jude in the 'get thee to a nunnery' scene, but I'm forgetting that performance, too, sigh. Oh, wispy memory. Thank goodness for HD DVD.
Anyway, one of the reasons I was watching Hamlet instead of Doctor Who was the realisation that my friend will never see the Neil Gaiman episode of DW. That's taken the shine off it, just a bit. Sort of like there's always a point when watching Lord of the Rings when I get up to one of Dad's favourite scenes (LOTR and Who are the few things we really bonded over) and I'll wonder what he would have thought and promptly burst into tears. I still wonder what he would have thought of NuWho, but considering he was a hardcore Hartnell man, not a lot, although Matt Smith might have crept through as he does reference Hartnell a little, but mainly Troughton, who ruined the show as far as my father was concerned (cf sawing the air too much). Me, I loved Troughton and Pertwee. They weren't just tv to me, they were the WORLD. I was so tiny, watching it then, and, sad to say, my earliest memories are of cybermen and daleks. And you're all nodding now, aren't you? Harumph.
Late PM update: There was an astonishing, creepy looking movie type storm this afternoon, so instead of leaving work on time I hung back a bit, and ran into M on the way home. An old, old friend, like we go back as far as kindy old, I'd not seen in years. We had the phones out, swapping details and snapping photos. Marvellous stuff. And just when I was feeling a touch lonely, too.
Oh, and we had Chinese takeaway for tea which was very, very naughty but I needed a treat. Not deserved one, but wanted one. Much happier now.
Hey, what's the little tune they play over the end credits of the first episode of Boardwalk Empire? It's the tune my little music box (the one I won cause it was the only way I was ever going to get one) used to play. I recognised it instantly. That was an aural Proustian moment, but I still don't know the tune...
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