A Double Life (Cukor 1947) stars Ronald Coleman as Anthony John, a stage actor consumed by the role of Othello who slips into madness. Shelley Winters plays Pat Kroll, a slatternly waitress he comes to believe is Desdemona. This is a great story about doubling and division, a kind of Shakespearean noir.
Maybe focus on this for the moment:
As an opening gambit we broke into the play at the level of character. Ex. the Ghost, an unnatural (supernatural) figure, the victim of an unnatural act, who commands Hamlet to be a “natural” son and avenge him.
Thus the un/natural opposition as a theme with resonances throughout the play.
The Ghost also describes Gertrude as “seeming-virtuous,” echoing Hamlet’s response to her earlier: “‘Seems,’ madam? Nay, it is. I know not seems.” For Hamlet, mere appearance can never express true depth. Some things are ineffable. In the corrupted world of Elsinore, at least, all is show.
Thus two more oppositions: seeming/being and in/effable.
Go to the library webpage. Look up Hamlet in the film catalog. You want the 2009 version with David Tennant in the title role. Watch the exchanges between Laertes and Ophelia, Polonius and Laertes, and Polonius and Ophelia. This sequence runs from about 21 minutes to 28 minutes. Follow along with your book. If you’ve already read Act I then you’ll understand the title of this post. We’ll discuss some of this tomorrow.
I recommend watching the film completely. It’s not the most recent production, but it’s useful to hear the language in the air. The 2016 production of Hamlet has not been filmed as far as I know, though there are several trailers for live performances. Here’s one:
The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is presenting Henry V this season. Here’s the schedule:
The Presidio’s Main Post
Parade Ground Lawn (between Graham St & Keyes Ave)
– Saturday, Sept 1
– Sunday, Sept 2
– Monday, Sept 3 (Labor Day)
– Saturday, Sept 8
– Sunday, Sept 9
– Saturday, Sept 15
– Sunday, Sept 16
– Saturday, Sept 22
– Sunday, Sept 23
All shows at 2:00 pm
Students of HUM303 might take the opportunity to watch it. In an earlier version of our syllabus Henry V was the first text we were to read. Any student (from HUM415/455/470/303) who attends and writes up a short reflection/review on the performance can rack up a little extra credit.