Double-casting is a theater technique (as opposed to a literary one) that creates a meta-narrative, transforming a large-cast play into a present-tense adventure. Actors swapping costumes and changing roles (and sometimes genders) becomes part of the thrilling ride, and theater’s fundamental artifice becomes its strength. Theater’s very artificiality becomes a feature, not a bug. Shakespeare utilized this trick to both amplify subtext and heighten the drama.
Posts Tagged: Hamlet
“To be or not to be” – do you know what comes after? This quiz challenges you to drag and drop the lines of Hamlet’s famous speech into the correct order.
During this global pandemic, when the whole world is quarantined to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hamlet seems like a character perfectly suited to our present moment. He’s also stuck at home, unable to return to school, despondent after suffering great loss, and so distraught by governmental change and the behavior of family… Continue Reading »
Well-known Shakespeare characters such as King Lear and Hamlet suffer (or appear to suffer) from madness — and early American psychiatrists took note. Observations drawn from literature began to bleed into courtroom testimony regarding insanity pleas. “From the mid-1840s through about the mid-1860s in the United States, during the first generation of American psychiatry, no… Continue Reading »
Shakespeare’s plays are full of references to food and cookery, but they’re not always very appetizing. In Hamlet, the ghost of elder Hamlet describes the effect of the poison that Claudius pours into his ears, how it winds its way through the veins of his body and suddenly “doth posset / And curd, like eager… Continue Reading »
“Write what you know” is the age-old wisdom young writers are always given, and though he never wrote a backstage comedy (or, for that matter, a backstage history, tragedy, or romance), William Shakespeare filled his plays with the tricks of his theatrical trade. I’m not talking about the theater techniques any playwright uses to tell… Continue Reading »
Maybe ’twas ever thus, but the current crop of cultural programming in the theatre and on film and television is awash with prequels and sequels to existing stories and characters, providing audiences with comforting continuations of familiar narratives and critics with opportunities to decry the dearth of original ideas. So it seems only right to… Continue Reading »
In many ways Simba resembles Prince Hal more than Hamlet, in that he’s also a headstrong prince who disobeys his father but ultimately learns to accept responsibility and claim his throne.
John Barrymore is sometimes passed over in the lists of great Shakespeare actors, but he was an important transitional figure in our understanding of the evolution of Shakespearean performance styles, writes Austin Tichenor.
In this Folger bas-relief, sculptor John Gregory shows Hamlet facing the sources of his torment: his father’s murder and his mother’s betrayal.