To be...
December 23, 2016 9:16 PM   Subscribe

 
Exciting! A talk about Shakespeare I thought. Then I noticed it was only six and a half minutes long and was disappointed. Then I actually watched the video and now I'm pleased again. Though they are all wrong. It's clearly an inner monologue not meant to be spoken at all, just thought by Hamlet while gesticulating wildly.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:43 PM on December 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


So gusottertrout, you're suggesting that it 'tis nobler in the mind, then?
posted by Zedcaster at 9:59 PM on December 23, 2016 [17 favorites]


Of course, that's why they emphasize using your arms against that sea of troubles. Duh.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:44 PM on December 23, 2016 [12 favorites]


“To be is to do”—Socrates.
“To do is to be”—Jean-Paul Sartre.
"To be or not to be."—Wm. Shakespeare.
“Do be do be do”—Frank Sinatra.
"Scooby dooby do!"—Frank Welker.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:45 PM on December 23, 2016 [7 favorites]


"Hamlet the Dame" FTW
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:47 PM on December 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


Also: wherefore art thou to be or not to be, that is the question.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:51 PM on December 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Aw, I was hoping the punchline was going to be Paapa taking everyone's advice and emphasising every word in a fit over overacting. Very amusing otherwise.

You hear stories about directors doing 400 takes for one scene and I've considered them aberrations. No movie would ever get finished if it were universally true. Any theatre people want to share?

no no, up and ATOM

up and AT THEM

posted by adept256 at 11:26 PM on December 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


If u had asked me if he had a skull in that scene I might have said yes though.
posted by bleep at 2:42 AM on December 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Similarly, when Hamlet says "Words, words, words," he should says "Words, words and MORE words!!"
posted by rubber duck at 3:38 AM on December 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


You hear stories about directors doing 400 takes for one scene and I've considered them aberrations. No movie would ever get finished if it were universally true. Any theatre people want to share?

It's movie directors who do 400 takes for one scene (sometimes).

But for theater - each show rehearses an average of 1 month before the showtime, about 4 hours a day and 6 days each week. A lot of that is rote repetition, but there's also an awful lot of this kind of discussion on characters' inner states of being, motivation, and such. Not necessarily "how to emphasize certain words", that's usually left up to the actor to decide, but once in a rare while an actor will just not Get It that they're giving a line a weird spin that is going to end up confusing audiences and a director will sometimes step in and correct that.

So, this kinda happens in theater, but it's less "no no, say it like 'to be or not to be', like that" and more "so when Hamlet says 'to be or not to be', what do we think he thinks 'be', like, means?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:42 AM on December 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


And if your director is Max Stafford Clark or somebody who follows his methods you're expected to annotate the entire script with your decisions on those kind of questions as part of your homework in the first week. The idea being that having the intent and emotional impact behind every line plotted out in advance obviates the need for these discussions once the play is on its feet and saves time in the later rehearsals. (But if badly deployed it also leads to your actors hating you, so use with caution!)
posted by the latin mouse at 5:17 AM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]




Oh England, remembering better times. For in the sleep of brexit, what dreams may come must give us pause.
posted by pfh at 6:23 AM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


On one of Toby Hadoke's Who's Round interviews (with almost random people who had something to do with Dr Who over the last fifty-three years, mostly charming old luvvies), he spoke to one actor who became an expert in teaching or directing Shakespeare's text to convey meaning... I'll see if I can find it, because I'm sure I'm remembering it wrong. In any case, I'm always impressed by Shakespearean actors' ability to convey exactly what they're talking about despite the fact that I might not know what many of the actual words mean.
posted by Grangousier at 7:01 AM on December 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of Ian McKellen's fantastic analysis of the Tomorrow speech in Macbeth. I had seen his Macbeth before, in school I think, but I found the level of thought and casual erudition in his analysis really eye-opening. Actors are amazing.
posted by Aravis76 at 7:03 AM on December 24, 2016 [9 favorites]


It was Giles Block - I remember it being very interesting, and definitely about this sort of thing (as well as the Who related stuff and general actor stuff) - he also wrote a book about it.
posted by Grangousier at 7:13 AM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


To be...

::stage manager whispers from the wings:: "Or not to be!"
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:42 AM on December 24, 2016 [7 favorites]


Faint of Butt - heh.

Although, you've also reminded me: if I was on book during rehearsal I would only give them their next line if they called out "Line!" I found that just letting them think a few seconds, they'd get it themselves.

Whenever I told actors this, I would tell them that I would wait for them to ask for it because "if you just pause i"m going to assume that you're 'Acting'."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:59 AM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


In any case, I'm always impressed by Shakespearean actors' ability to convey exactly what they're talking about despite the fact that I might not know what many of the actual words mean.

This is what I always tell people about playing Shakespeare--yes, some of the language is a little hard to understand after four hundred years. If you take the time to understand what you're saying and why you're saying it, though, an audience will get it even if they don't necessarily understand "quietus" and "bare bodkin".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:17 AM on December 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whenever I told actors this, I would tell them that I would wait for them to ask for it because "if you just pause i"m going to assume that you're 'Acting'."

Also, thank you for this. I've lost track of the number of well-meaning people who mistake a dramatic pause for not remembering a line. So far I've managed to refrain from throwing things.

Exactly how allowable dramatic pauses are in Shakespeare and their ideal lengths is a whole other topic.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:19 AM on December 24, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'm always amused that people quote "neither a borrower nor a lender be" as if it's some great nugget of wisdom, when Polonius is so obviously a bore and a fool.

also it doesn't even finish a complete thought
posted by thelonius at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


It is useful to know or to recall that the use of soliloquy, as in this speech by Hamlet, is a convention of the time that renders an inner thought to have an outer expression. There are three such uses in Hamlet. Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) employs this technique in his asides, a takeoff on Shakespeare's Macbeth. The soliloquy is an extended speech of the inner feelings; the aside, a turning aside to utter an inner thought.
posted by Postroad at 9:33 AM on December 24, 2016


Is that "The soliloquy is an extended speech of the INNER feelings", "The soliloquy is an EXTENDED speech of the inner feelings", or "The soliloquy is an extended speech of the inner FEELINGS"?
posted by hippybear at 9:37 AM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Can a brother just say one thing without a bunch of white folks coming in to correct him - that is the question.
posted by googly at 9:38 AM on December 24, 2016 [15 favorites]


Very cute!

Personally, I'd play it thus: "To BE... or not to be: that is the question."
posted by droplet at 10:12 AM on December 24, 2016


Should I stay or should I go?
posted by Acey at 10:26 AM on December 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Can a brother just say one thing without a bunch of white folks coming in to correct him - that is the question.

To be precise, he was talking about two things: to be or not to be...


/whitesplain
posted by hangashore at 10:45 AM on December 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I clicked on the link expecting it to be a segment on the Graham Norton show.
posted by srboisvert at 12:47 PM on December 24, 2016


Sherlock, Doctor Who and Gandalf walk on a stage together....
posted by ShawnString at 1:15 PM on December 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


Reposting what I said once here:

I was directing some work by Derek Walcott once and had a chance to get him to come in to watch a rehearsal. Afterward he and I were talking about Macbeth, and how very, very important it is to get the actors to put just the right stresses on the right words, and pauses in the right places. For instance, there is this passage, spoken by Macbeth right after he has killed his king:

Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.

The interesting thing about this bit is how the actor approaches the last three words. If you stress the words equally, or a little sing-songy, "making the GREEN one RED," then Macbeth is saying that his blood will turn a sea red. But if you put just the slightest pause after green: "making the green, one red" then what he's saying is he'll make ALL of the seas a single color: that of the blood on his hands. It turns his guilt from the murder of a man into the assassination of a god (if we can bend a metaphor a bit and imagine that the kind of Scotland was the representative of God.)
posted by nushustu at 1:39 PM on December 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


the great thing was how the status of each successive surprise guest went up and up -- near the end we're all thinking, "how much further up can this go?" sure glad i didn't see a list of the guests before i watched it!
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 2:08 PM on December 24, 2016


sure glad i didn't see a list of the guests before i watched it!

Framing is a difficult matter on MetaFilter.
posted by hippybear at 2:25 PM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


But that last one was a total amateur!
posted by dannyboybell at 2:45 PM on December 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


I will always remember this one as the defining performance of my generation.
posted by janey47 at 5:09 PM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ha! I enjoyed that, thank you hippybear.

When I was a kid my mum liked to amuse me with:
"TB or not TB, that is congestion.
Consumption be done about it?"
posted by valetta at 6:17 PM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


PSA to mention that David Tennant's Hamlet is not to be missed and can probably be found on the Tubes of You. Really top notch in the "making this shit understandable" department. (Rory Kinnear's also quite good.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:56 PM on December 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


I kinda like how Prince Chuck is becoming more liberal-lefty as his kids grow up and he has grandkids he would like to see grow up with both parents intact, too.

Yes, he used to try to design Georgian firehouses as an actual architect and a revanchist when he was younger... as an actual grandfather, he did this. It's good.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:09 PM on December 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


This was good fun, thanks!
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:48 PM on December 24, 2016


But that last one was a total amateur!

Not at all. He's the only professional prince in the whole group.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:21 AM on December 25, 2016 [7 favorites]


Funny to see Tim Minchin with his shoes on.
posted by ambulocetus at 10:40 PM on December 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


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