Friday, July 22, 2005

Strange interpretations?

Upon hearing that we're about to experience Hamlet in a wading pool wearing water wings, a coworker and I got into a discussion about why Hamlet seems to be the play that has the wildest interpretations. I attribute it to the underlying theme of Hamlet's dementia, feigned or otherwise, and the overall emphasis on what's going on in his head as opposed to reality.

But it did bring up the question of just how odd a presentation of Shakespeare can get. I once saw a performance of I believe Midsummer Night's Dream, if I'm not mistaken, where Oberon periodically lapsed into what turned out to be Klingon. Or the "post Apocalyptic" Macbeth where poor Banquo lost his head courtesy of a powered automobile sunroof.


janefan said...

The movie Scotland, PA is another great but weird modernization of MacBeth, set in a 1970's era McDonalds-esque restaurant. It's got death by deep-frier, a cheesy soundtrack that's mostly Bad Company songs, and Christopher Walken is a trip as MacDuff! I highly recommend it!

Duane said...

I've heard about that one. Is it inspired by Macbeth, or an actual interpretation? Do they use the original text of the play?

bardolph said...

I agree that Hamlet is used for some bizarre interpretations. But I think that The Tempest is the one that is most often and most savagely butchered. It's used for all kinds of political and social objectives. And those who bend it to their will for the benefit and supply of their hope always miss out that it's essentially a play about redemption.