Monday, May 7, 2012

Hundreds of Hamlets

Shakespeare is one of my favourite subjects. We read his plays out loud, taking parts. Occasionally four people is not enough and we must double up. I can remember times when I've talked to myself because everyone else already had two or more parts. We love almost all his plays (Titus Andronicus just made me feel sick) but the one that takes the prize is Hamlet. Last time we read Hamlet I wasn't very good at reading out loud. I butchered Ophelia and Queen Gertrude and made a complete mess of minor characters. But last term we started it again. This time Sophie was just starting reading Shakespeare. I'm jealous. She got Hamlet as her very first play. I got Twelfth Night

Sitting on our family room table was a stack of DVDs. There were far more versions of Hamlet than I ever thought we'd watch. So we began reading. Imogen starred as Hamlet, I was horrifically Evil as Claudius, Sophie claimed Ophelia as her special property and Mum got Horatio. We each took various other parts and we muddled through. As we read we started watching the BBC production of Hamlet. That took most of the term and we still had more versions waiting for us on the table. Having finished watching the BBC Hamlet we started on the David Tennant version. By the time we were finished term was over and we still had at least two versions of Hamlet sitting on the table. 

This term we have returned to the world of Hamlet and are watching yet another version. But we never get tired of Hamlet. Today, armed with sandwiches and cups of tea, we put on the next Hamlet from the pile. Munching on sandwiches and sipping tea, we watched as Hamlet soliloquised and Horatio nearly had a fit when he saw the ghost. We stared when we recognized the actress of Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility and laughed when we realized that this Claudius acted Hamlet in another version. 

Hopefully, with any amount of luck, we'll get through the last of our Hamlets this term. They have after all lasted us over a term of enjoyment. But as I said, we never get tired of Hamlet. I'm hoping desperately that when we come to the end and nearly everyone dies I won't sniffle. It's very distracting and rather embarrassing to have to pause the movie to run and grab a tissue. Still, it'll be worth it even if I do cry. 

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