I hadn't realised this was a quote from Hamlet until last Thursday, when together with some local friends and pals from Script Cafe, we saw a live performance in Cardiff broadcast from the National Theatre, London on to the big screen at Cine World cinemas across the globe. It was a stunning performance by Rory Kinnear as Hamlet and a very contemporary production directed by Nicolas Hytner, set in a modern dictatorship where everyone is being watched, and is watching and telling on everyone else. The play within the play that's performed by travelling players becomes a mask to reveal treachery.
I never studied Hamlet and at school I found the language of Shakespeare very difficult to understand. It bored me. I appreciated the lighter plays, the comedies. It's only as an adult, and now trying to write my own plays that I can appreciate the genius of the man- the complexity of the characters, the poetry, the drama and conflict, the twists and turns of the plot. I still struggle with the meaning of the language but Rory Kinnear gave Shakespeare's words such clarity and irony that really engaged me.
Two weeks previously, I saw a Sherman production of 'Measure for Measure' at what was the old Nat West Bank in Bute Town. It was a good production with wonderful set and costumes designed by Takis. The acting was good but some of the actors gabbled their lines and I was left not quite understanding some of the longer monologues.
In both plays I noticed that Shakespeare liked to tie up his endings neatly. I wonder if he was writing today if he's be so inclined to do so? I also wonder if he'd have done a bit more editing!
This week I've been tapping away at my own play, 'Fathers and Sons' (the working title). This has to be submitted to the Sherman's Script Cymu by the end of January. They set up two writing groups, one in English and one in Welsh. As a winner of Script Slam, along with others who'd taken part, I was invited to participate in the English language group, lead by Alan Harris, in a five week writing course and the bargain is to produce a full length play. My play is about the co-dependent relationship between a father and son running a B & B in West Wales in the 1960's. Their world is blown apart by a guest, who isn't what he first seems. It will explore men's relationships at that time and in the time of war.
A tad ambitious, perhaps! Well, with the inspiration of the Bard in my belly, who knows what might roll out, and 'catch the conscience of the King'?