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.
February 24, 2014
After taking January off because of busy schedules, Griffin and I got back together to pick up our discussion of the play – focusing today on Act 4. Part of the excitement today is that we met to talk immediately following two days of auditions where I got to hear Griffin reading some of Hamlet’s dialogue for the first time. He’s going to be great!
While Hamlet is only in one scene of Act 4 (at least in our cutting), there are still a lot of things that happen to Hamlet during the act that are pretty major for an actor to work in to his conception of the character. It just so happens that most of the things that happen to Hamlet in Act 4 happen off stage!
The big thing that grabbed us in conversation today is Hamlet’s choice (spoiler alert) to send Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their deaths. For a character who spends most of the play stuck in a paralysis by analysis, it’s pretty major to decide to replace his name with their names in the letter from Claudius asking the King of England to kill Hamlet.
That’s a bold choice. He doesn’t have to do it. He chooses that. There are other ways to deal with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He must be feeling so burned by them. They allied themselves with the most devious of men. They deserve punishment. But other people have burned Hamlet and he doesn’t seek immediate retribution. His actions to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern make Hamlet suddenly cold-blooded. I can’t wrap my head around that yet!
Act IV….Act IV….Hamlet infamously gets a break. Where does he go? What happens exactly on his trip to England? He is very changed when he comes back, the way he speaks, the things he wants to discuss and dwell on. David and I talked about the idea of how a person changes upon being a part of a life-changing or threatening event. When death is so close or someone you thought a comrade changes face it really would make you think about life in a different perspective. I think this is where Hamlet goes in his break in Act IV. He makes a choice while he is away, he is not a man of inaction, and lives are forever changed. We have so much more to discuss with his “break” as we’ve just sort of touched the surface.