04/04/2009

A SHAKESPEAREAN SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Imagine you are a young university student ... Imagine you love Philosophy and Poetry ... You've got friends as well as a beautiful girl you start fancying about...But your happy ordinary world is suddenly turned upside down by the news of your father's death. You grieve and mourn and you can cope with it ...What you really can't stand is ... your mother's behaviour... After just few weeks (4!), she gets married again, with your uncle, your father's brother...You find it unbearable but nobody else seems to notice that unacceptable exhibition of joy and love. Then something even worse happens: your father's ghost comes back from hell, reveals you the tragic truth of his death and orders you to avenge him! Your uncle Claudius has murdered him and now he is your mother's new husband!
What would you do? Would you respect your father's will?
This is what happens in the first act of Shakespeare's "Hamlet", one of the most popular tragedies of all times.

I'm just back from Rome where I saw this play performed at Teatro Eliseo. Rome is wonderful in spring and we ( some of my students, some of my colleagues, the female part of my family and I ) enjoyed the warm afternoon. But let's say something about the performance. First of all, I especially appreciated Luca Lazzareschi as Hamlet and Nello Mascia as Polonius. Then I loved the wonderful lights and the impressive music that, with a minimal, very dark set design, have underlined the tragedy of Hamlet, the symbol of the crisis of modern man before his destiny and his responsibilities.
Shakespeare' s Hamlet is also a metaphor of the theatre as a vision of the world. One of the best moments in the play was "the theatre within the theatre", that is when Hamlet, who has been pretending to be mad for a while, asks a company of actors to perform "The Murder of Gonzago" at court. It resembles the story of the terrible murder of his father. So the actors became audience on the stage of a second play, and the actors of the latter were wearing masks - recalling ancient Greek theatre - which amplified the voices.


The show lasted four hours but we were all so involved in the dark atmosphere and waiting for the frantic bloody finale that ... we hardly realized.

If you want to know more about the play and its adaptations for the screen or its links and connections to other literary works....
And now I'll leave you with two lines from Hamlet:
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go. (Hamlet, 3. 3 )




2 comments:

Mo said...

Sometimes it's best not to understand too deeply the tragdies of Shakespeare.

MARIA GRAZIA said...

Well, Mo, an Italian saying states: "The more you know, the more you suffer" and Byron wrote something similar in the first act of his MANFRED. You're right, but I've always thought that you can't cope with life properly if you don't know enough about it!
Happy Easter time to you! I'll be there in London for some days from tomorrow ...MG