The Unbearable Banishment: The most melancholy of Danes

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The most melancholy of Danes

I finally saw the Donmar production of Hamlet with Jude Law. Good Lord in heaven, he was fantastic. I always enter into these star vehicles with a certain degree of trepidation and doubt but this guy really delivered the goods. After a few of his more impassioned soliloquies, he was awarded, justifiably, with exit applause. And he projected that stuff all the way up to the balcony where I was sitting.

The rest of the cast was fine, but nobody touched greatness the way Law did. Polonius was exceptionally good but the guy playing the ghost of Hamlet's father reminded me of Jon Lovitz's Mahster Thespian. His arms were flailing about and his voice would rise to a too-dramatic crescendo. It was a bit much but it was a small (albeit, important) part of the play.

The fall theater season is past its peak and soon I'll be back to attending small, black box productions. Seeing a named actor on a Broadway stage is, I'm embarrassed to admit, a big thrill for me. I feel like a bit of a cheap celebrity whore.

Seeing the smaller, more intimate productions with a cast of unknown actors really allows you to cut through the bullshit and tell who is genuinely talented and who needs to keep their day job. I always feel bad for the latter.

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10 Comments:

OpenID daisyfae said...

"I feel like a bit of a cheap celebrity whore"

so, for those of us who really enjoy reading about you watching? that makes us voyeuristic celebrity whore fetishists?

November 28, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
OpenID thegnukid said...

"I feel like a bit of a cheap celebrity whore"

hey now, UB, you are NOT cheap!

November 28, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
OpenID anniegirl1138.com said...

I used to teach Hamlet to 7th graders. They loved it. But I have to say that he is not a very sympathetic character. His father excepted, he is responsible directly or indirectly for the death of nearly everyone else in the play. And he is whiner.

The soliloquies are awesome though. I don't know that Shakespeare does it quite as well as he did here.

"Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must like a whore unpack my heart with words"

Brilliant. And pretty much sums him up at the same time.

November 28, 2009 at 10:52 PM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

I'd like to see Jude Law abd Cate Blanchett tackle Troilus and Cressida

November 29, 2009 at 1:23 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: Yes, you are a cheap celebrity whore once removed. Would love to drag you along on one of these productions one day...

Gnu: Why, thank you! I'll remove the "cheap" tag and embrace the other.

Annie: Law played Hamlet as insane and unlikable. I thought that took some guts.

Nurse: Cate is currently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the Sydney production of "Streetcar." Tickets are, predictably, impossible to come by.

November 29, 2009 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Good to hear. Poor ol' Jude doesn't seem to get much respect, so hopefully this will do it for him.

November 29, 2009 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

Yankee saw the play a few weeks ago, and came home saying Jude Law proved he wasn't just a pretty face, but a damn fine actor too.

November 29, 2009 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ellie: I think part of Jude's lack of respect problem has a lot to do with his off-stage/off-screen shenanigans. He's often fodder for the tabloids.

Cat: Yankee sounds like a very smart man. Did he see anything else while here?

November 29, 2009 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Broadway!

Lucky U(B)!

November 29, 2009 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

Yankee is usually in NYC about once a month. Whenever he is there and has enough time off,he gets into the half price ticket line and sees whatever is available. It works out great because he satisfies his need for live theater without my having to sit through it with him.

November 30, 2009 at 1:51 PM  

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