This week, the first week of 2012, I went to see Hamlet at the Young Vic, went to bed early most nights and for the first time ever, and bought a box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.
Hamlet was good, though it’s a long play and (cheap) seats in the Young Vic aren’t that comfy. I was ashamed to admit I was a bit confused as well. Was it all in his head? Dead people came back to life and stuff, but I know Shakespeare likes his ghosts because I’ve read MacBeth. Anyway, Michael Sheen put in a bloody good performance and the bit where they had Claudius doing his speech behind a glass door was cool.
I resolved to read more Shakespeare after I went to see John Logan, the screenwriter, speaking at BAFTA last year. He said don’t bother with all the screenwriting books by the likes of McKee etc, just read The Bard. A fair point, I guess, and if it inspires you to come up with line such as ‘at my command, unleash hell’ (Gladiator), then who can disagree? Years ago, when I lived in Sheffield, I bought this manky old book of Shakespeare’s entire works for 50p from a charity shop and I never read a single page of it until after that lecture. The trouble is the book is heavy and fragile and the text is very, very small, so it’s not exactly portable. I read little bits of MacBeth over breakfast and now resolve to read Hamlet over my CN Cornflakes.
What else? What else? I finally ‘get’ James Blake.