How do you put something back together? How do you keep it from falling apart? How do you stand up out of bed if your bed is the wall and you’re already standing? These are some of the questions Grain of Sand Theatre is asking in rehearsals for its latest production, Tell-Tale, which will be playing this July as part of the 2013 Capital Fringe Festival.
There is an interesting pattern to the names in Shakespeare's Hamlet, that we have given (more-than the intended?) meaning in Hamlet: Reframed.
The text of Hamlet does not provide a wealth of information on what kind of king or person Hamlet's father (Hamlet Sr) was. Additionally, we are so used to seeing the story from Hamlet's point of view that we end up with a potentially skewed perception of the old king. Shakespeare doesn't give us much to go on, and in our reframing we hear even less about him. What Shakespeare has given us is a rich political environment of a country in the midst of a change in leadership, resulting in a massive policy upheaval.
During the story of Hamlet, Denmark is going through some remarkable, yet subtle changes, as the regime shifts from Hamlet Sr.'s reign to Claudius'. One of the primary shifts is to a surveillance state. People are being watched, never as before. Claudius and Polonius (his spymaster?) keep their eye on everybody, not just on Hamlet.
Many people consider Hamlet to be the best play Western literature has produced. The play is praised for its philosophy, for the beauty of Hamlet's soliloquies, and great debates surround issues of Hamlet's madness, his action or inaction, and his sifting illusion from reality. Why, then, do we choose to de-emphasize these elements in presenting Hamlet: Reframed, to cut the soliloquies and the philosophizing?
Any modern production of Hamlet needs to navigate three separate rules of succession. The way we, especially as Americans, imagine the laws of succession today differs greatly from the Elizabethan view, which is itself removed from the rules of the story's Danish origin.
21st Century America