When the watching is completely banalized, the attendance at a live performance is a feast and a superior privilege. Especially so, when it’s Hamlet in native interpretation – by Shakespeare’s theatre, which he founded and where he played and contributed with his wits and soul through his masterpieces. Here are my first impressions and after thoughts.
The atmosphere had been very intense with the emotions of all the spectators, theater lovers and fluent English speakers, a very select public, of elites and commoners; but also overwhelmed by the violent storm half an hour before the beginning of the play, adding a little more dramatism just for the ones who wore high hills for the most special event, and an uncustomary outfit for the occasion and who commute by the disastrous public transport. Never mind, I had for the case spared my flat sole shoes in my backpack for the late hour return home when I had the occasion to exercise also my muscles and endurance not only my faculties, and ran a bit of a km to the next station where I could take a bus, and the umbrella was of some assistance for my head.
A very sensible audience also, the sharpened senses of hearing, seeing, the cut breath in the suspense and expectation, the whispered or shouted words, the cheers, the laughter participative, the appropriate laughter and due to the fact that those were the most educated and intent spectators – laughter that sounded like a dagger rung into the silence of a specific moment. Everybody conformed to the rules of shutting off edevices, except a surprise mobile call out of the blue and by the end of the play in a throng formed close to the stage an enormous camera sprang up like a telescope! A packed theater house with all the tickets bought with the gaping gaps of the unoccupied seats that looked like viral pixels in a complete image. And the passion was in the air.
Passionate was also the play, a modern perspective upon the classic tragedy. The emphasis on the fine line between passion and madness, the all times sins and virtues, vices and corruption mixed, mingling and meddling reflected with an expansive talent.
A very modest apparition of a phantomlike theatre cast there was very little information about them, about this grandiose event as well, we had no names on a conventional programme – just the superb actors on stage, the event advertized shortly before the performance day through the Facebook page of the Festival. The deep mystery and obscurity just added to the incredulity and surprise of theatre worshipers. The theatrical group faced an equally homogeneously anonymous mass of the 12th country public in a two year- project Globe to Globe.
In the Welsh tune we had the perfectly uttered language, the words the elapsed word – the emphatic pauses, the sophistication of expression of all those complex, intricate personalities of protagonists, antagonists, villains, treacherous blokes; moments of reconciliation and ire, moments of torment, repent, despair, doling, broken promises and betrayed trust, interdiction to love and defiance of conventions, seeking the revenge, raving on the verge of madness, the ridicule of the profanity of Elizabethan times court. The concentration of fatality hovered throughout the play: the DEATH in all its aspects: by accident in the case of Polonius who was hidden in the Queen’s apartments when Hamlet had the important discussion with her after he determined to be cruel enough with her; death by criminal plan of the King by his brother so as to marry his wife and ascend on the throne; death of Ophelia a giant character through her spiritual force and love but not being of noble, royal descent, so committing suicide by drowning because of unrequited love and lost illusions; then at the end the series of death for revenge using the means of the epoch: poisonous potions present in all tragedies, and cold weapons – poisonous swords in the final duel between Hamlet and Ophelia’s brother, an absolutely superfluous wrath and carnage this last one. The emphatic contrast of the black humour in the scene of the grave digger: tragically dead Ophelia had to be forbidden from being granted normal funeral rituals, because she had committed suicide, then the emblematic pun lands in the debate “Whose skull is this?” in the confusing moment he was holding one that he found while digging the fresh grave – the explanation is even more startling as it belonged to a King’s fool, a jester and on his place the irony of the destiny made that Ophelia had to be entombed.
This one is not a bearded story that comes from beyond the golden dust of centuries back in time, it had an elegant modern turn with an echo and a reflection in our very modern existence.
The final stormy applause could not express enough the gratitude for the precious two hours of contact with the great culture and with the spirit of Shakespeare Himself.