Audience favorite Griffin Stanton-Ameisen will play Hamlet for DSF in 2014 and Artistic Director David Stradley will direct the production. Once a month, Griffin and David will be getting together to talk about the play, the character, and all sorts of other things. They’ve agreed to share a short “journal entry” with DSF after each meeting.
March 28, 2014
Act V, where our story’s noble heart indeed does crack. Just talking about this act got me excited about the climax of the play in performance. David and I talked about Hamlet’s return to Denmark after his “journey” to England. Now Hamlet has killed someone directly with his actions and indirectly, as well. His behavior upon returning is definitely changed. He has a strange sort of zen. His madness appears to be gone, or at least hidden again (does it appear again?). What’s the plan? That was our biggest question. What’s his plan? He’s not making a surprise entrance, so how is he going to proceed? Well, my my first thought was…oh wait, events come along, the gravedigger, the funeral, fencing match. We never really know what Hamlet has planned because he doesn’t have a chance. He makes a bunch of HUGE discoveries in this act, which alters his decisions and his opinions. What does he value? Life itself? Family? I was left with plenty of questions, all important in figuring out how this crescendo of a fifth act rolls forward.
The encounter with the gravedigger has got to change Hamlet’s trajectory somehow. I mean, Shakespeare put it in there for a reason – it’s not in his source material. It seems like it all goes along with with the question of, “What is Hamlet desperately trying to figure out in the course of the play? What is his amazing intellect focused on unlocking?”
When I asked Griffin this question back in August, he suggested, “Why would my mother do this?” or “Is this ghost right?” Yesterday he came right out with, “What is the meaning of life and what’s my place in it?” Then he followed that with, “What is the meaning of my life?”
But we digress – as does Hamlet. Because then Laertes and all show up and Hamlet learns Ophelia is dead. Trajectory altered yet again.
We ended by talking about how we want the audience to feel as the play ends. Griffin’s words:
“Oh the things he could have done if not for…”
We want the audience feeling for Hamlet. Feeling the massive loss his death is.
But then I asked myself, “Why? What does that accomplish? What does that do for our audience?”
Perhaps it has to do with understanding the massive abilities we all have. Don’t waste them. Help each other find the ways to best share their talents. Create the world that their talents are embraced by, fit into. Hamlet doesn’t fit into his kingdom. And he should! Denmark is worse off for not being the kind of place where he can thrive.