January 28th, 2005


Nothing like a little Hamlet and eggs for breakfast.

No eggs for me, though.

This morning, I watched "A Midwinter's Tale", aka "In the Bleak Midwinter". If you were anywhere near the Branagh/Thompson fan that I was back in the mid-90s, you will already know that this is a movie written and directed by Branagh, and it centers around actors(!) doing a play(!) by Shakespeare(!!).

Oh, and that play is Hamlet(!!!).

If you know me well, you already know that I'm a theatre geek. I'm a lot of other kinds of geek, too, but the relevant bit is that I dig the whole play-about-a-play pattern - one of my favorite plays (and, indeed, movies) is "Noises Off", a show about putting on a farce. Also in my favorites is "I Hate Hamlet", which is a fun play even though I don't actually dislike Hamlet that much. IHH is most enjoyed by theatre geeks, I think.

Seems like I've been in some sort of play with this same navel-gazing theatre geek character, but I'm riding high on sugar, caffeine, and ibuprofen, so we'll just let that reference go for now.

All of that was really to describe the sorts of people that are the ideal audience for "In the Bleak Midwinter". The plot, briefly: an (out of work) actor decides to put on a production of Hamlet to save an old church building. He auditions and casts a bunch of actors that are willing to perform for a share of the profits (read: next to nothing). The space is a challenge, the actors are each eccentric in their own way, and the rehearsal schedule is dreadfully short.

One favorite exchange: C: If I ever forget my lines in Shakespeare, I always say "Crouch we here awhile and lurk!" That seems to do the trick. M: Why? What happens? C: Nothing, normally, but, you know, improvise a moment of intrigue, give you a chance to think of something, pick up a script.