This? [Takes the skull]
Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite
jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a
thousand times, and now how abhorr’d in my imagination it is!
My gorge rises at it.
PBS recently aired the BBC’s Hamlet-another one of those wonderfully anachronistic versions where everyone lives in an alternate reality where they dress much as we dress but talk much as Elizabethans talked. The works of Shakespeare have been prone to these mashup productions for the past several years. The fact that the original plays have been staged about a gazillion times means that even fans of The Bard might b tired of the same old thing. The words remain the same, but the time, place, and costumes can be changed-these are often interesting productions.
David (Dr Who) Tennant and Patrick (Captain Picard) Stewart play Hamlet and Claudius without bringing to mind much of Dr Who or Captain Picard. Of course, wearing a t-shirt and chewing up he scenery David Tennant doesn’t much bring to mind Hamlet either. Still, it was an interesting bit of business. High School was a while ago and I seldom sit and read Shakespeare as I once did.
Watching Hamlet is fun because it seems that every single line from this play has been taken and used elsewhere. It is hard to follow the story at times, as the individual lines all call so much attention to themselves.
This version of Hamlet is very stylized and near perfectly adapted to television. The lighting and cropping of the shots are all filmic and often at odds with the exaggerated arm flailing and playing to the balcony demanded from a stage production. It was still Hamlet and it was fun to see David Tennant and Patrick Stewart on the same stage.