So here we are, two weeks in and two weeks to go before New Tempest Club stage their work-in-progress showing of Hamlet. It’s been a busy schedule, 9 full days in the rehearsal spaces so far and what do we have? Possibly not yet half a show. Studying the play in such detail recently has made be realise more than ever just how dense and rich Hamlet is, it’s a thick text, 4 and a half hours played at full length. Our version will be much shorter of course (80-90 mins maximum) but as of the end of this week we’ve only cut and acted to the end of Act 2.
I don’t wish to sound negative, this project is brilliant! I just hope we as a group can do ourselves justice. We began numbering 12 performers but swiftly and bizarrely lost 4 people in the space of the first week. But this doesn’t concern me too much, while our numbers are down I believe the people that we have can and will push themselves to create the best show possible with the time and resources we have. But in losing performers, we gained one; Simon Plumridge our director/designer/maker extraordinaire has agreed to tread the boards once more more and become the ghost of King Hamlet. Couple this with the enduring expertise and guidance of Helen Grime and Sian Radinger and the group is in safe hands. And a special mention need go to Mr Tom Preston, our Hamlet, who is doing a sterling job so far and whom I know will be excellent on the night.
This post feels a little like the play now, I’ve given you a lot of details but have only just scratched the surface of what there is to tell. (I must be less verbose than Polonius!). What I must say is how pleased I am with some of the ideas and scenes we do have. Tonally, it’s a touch erratic, but there’s never a moment of boredom, each scene so far brings something new, (not totally original or a blinding new reading of the play) just interesting versions of characters and moments that should keep the audience with us for the duration of the show. This, if it can continue is something we can be proud of.
That’s all I have for now, watch this space for something a little more specific and a little less vague next time. Maybe I’ll share my musings on playing Claudius, in short- I like it!