“What was super memorable [last week] was dropping in for Claudius’Jordan Golding
‘O my offense is rank’ soliloquy– it was my first time dropping in with a soliloquy, and it unlocked the text and truth of the scene for me in a new way. He’s probably one of my favorite characters in the play right now, as well as Hamlet and Ophelia, because I find it intriguing to try and sympathize with him and humanize him, even though he’s an evil dude.”
An evil dude indeed. When it comes to Claudius, that’s pretty indisputable. We’ve danced around stating definitively whether our respective Hamlets are heroes, anti-heroes, or something else entirely…
Subjective labels aside, Act Three is when Prince Hamlet becomes a murderer.
We worked ‘The Chapel’ and ‘The Closet’ scenes back to back.
After Jordan G. dropped in for Claudius’ soliloquy regarding his attempted repentance for murder, I dropped in for Hamlet’s soliloquy contemplating whether this will be the moment he commits the same crime.
In our discussion afterwards, Jordan mentioned how he wasn’t listening to Hamlet’s ‘Now might I do it pat’ soliloquy. Instead, he was praying as Claudius.
This was apparent to me when dropping in as Hamlet. While I watched him from across the circle, I noticed that I could see his pulse through a vein on his neck. From behind me, Annie asked, “how easy would it be to kill him right now?” And I thought, “so easy!”
This was surprising to me, Samie Jo, as someone who has never truly felt like acting on a homicidal urge. I decided in that moment that my Hamlet, or Hamie Jo, is also experiencing their first tangible dance with murderous possibilities in this instance, and that is a shocking new side of yourself to discover.
I carried this newfound discovery of my danger and power into the Closet Scene.
When my mom, played by Kirsten Linder, asked “What wilt thou do, thou wilt not murder me?” I had to look away, my eyes were stinging.
I was in the mode of believing, “once I do this simple murder, and I will do it tonight, then I will be King. And King’s don’t cry.”
I was taken over with a new nausea as I realized: I don’t want to be a murderer. I don’t want to murder anyone. But I also need (and want) Claudius to die. What a rogue and peasant slave am I, am I right?
All these intense and conflicting feelings swirling around at the same time made it click for me how Hamlet can murder Polonius in a moment of passion, when that obviously wasn’t the King’s voice from behind the arras. The adrenaline of “just get it over with” can cloud one’s decision making.
Can we still sympathize with Hamlet after this major mistake?
How about Claudius? I wonder how our audience’s empathy with differ from our actor’s…
Catch our performances in the spring to find out!
Side bar: The ghost appears for the final time in the Closet Scene. But this time, unlike in Act One, there’s a dispute as to whether or not he’s actually there.
When asked whether or not ghosts are real (in general), 75% of our ensemble said “yes”.