The King of Infinite Space

Hamlet
Nicki Greenberg
Allen & Unwin
2010

Hamlet+coverOne of the fastest selling seasons of Hamlet in Britain came to a close only a few hours ago. The National Theatre’s record breaking performances at the Barbican were helped along by the pulling power of Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch playing the eponymous role.

And while some poor sad bitter critics may have been lamenting that the audiences were not true theatre goers but merely (merely?) blindly screeching fangirls (and boys), the truth is, even if it was via the attraction of a major star, it brought an entirely fresh new audience to the experience of live theatre and perhaps has inspired them to see more. A win for theatre I would say, and every subsequent play one of those first timers sees from here on in is a fine—if invisible—middle finger to those critics who have nothing better to do than to harp and moan over the “death of theatre”. Continue reading

School Finds: A Rare Speech

250px-Sir_Thomas_More_Hand_DSir Thomas More’s Speech To The Mob

Recently I was getting ready to teach a unit on ‘The Tempest’ and was trying to find material on how to link Shakespeare’s plays to the modern world.  I thought I was fairly knowledgeable when it came to the Bard but stumbling upon a video of Sir Ian McKellen performing a speech written by good old Will, I found myself unable to identify the play it came from.  Now there are plenty of plays I would not be able to identify many lines from but this speech resonated and I found it hard to believe I hadn’t heard it before.  It was relevant to today, pithy and evocative.  There was passion and it wasn’t just Sir Ian’s delivery. Continue reading

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