I was looking at something on YouTube the other day (maybe it was this animated project from Bud.TV), and noticed a so-called “Director Video” (I gather these are pay-for-placement) featuring an 18-year-old doing a monologue (not “To Be Or Not To Be”, to his credit) from Hamlet, apparently in a vacant lot:
He’s certainly givin’ ‘er, isn’t he? He’s got plenty of passion and enthusiasm, which is great. And he’s got the thing down, memorization-wise.
What the Words Mean
I’m no Shakespearean performance expert, but this piece highlights a really common difficulty in performing the Bard’s work: you can’t do a great job if you don’t understand the words. All the words. And not just what they mean, or meant in the 16th century, but also some context for their usage. A ‘fishmonger’ isn’t just a guy who hocks cod–it’s also a slang term for ‘pimp’.
Anyhow, I’m not picking on this kid–he seems to have the heart and spirit. You can probably teach the rest.
I did get to thinking about what other Hamlet-related videos I could find on the Tube.
As you might expect, there are many earnest, exceedingly-awful recitations of monologues. I’ll spare you those, but here’s a top tip to aspiring thesbians: memorize the speech instead of reading it off your screen. Here are some of the more interesting videos I found:
The wonderful (if overly fey) Derek Jacobi, along with Patrick Stewart as Claudius:
I’d forgotten all about Cat Head Theatre:
“Hamlet the Musical”, from Gilligan’s Island. That’s truly priceless: “From Ophelia, no one can steal ya, you’ll always be my own”.
And finally, here’s one young actor who’s got her lines down:
Here’s another one along similar lines, this time featuring sixth graders.