Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eyewitness: RSC, 1988

Mark Rylance has been interviewed by The Guardian about his life in theatre:
""When I played Hamlet," he remembers, "I added the word 'Ah!' five times after what are usually Hamlet's final words – 'The rest is silence.' And Ian McKellen sent me a letter to the stage door, saying, 'Now, now, darling, you really do have to be silent after those words.'" Sir Ian did not leave a return address, so Rylance was unable to write back to him and point out that the five dying susurrations are in the folio edition of the plays, printed seven years after the writer's death. Rylance believes that they were added in performance by Richard Burbage, the first Hamlet."
The Arden version of the folio has "O, O, O, O. Dies." But his point is made.

The modern equivalent of what he proposes are those printed editions of film scripts which are often transcripts of what occurred in the actual film rather than the screenplay even if an actor has paraphrased the words of the original writer and wrecked the sense.

But it does go to show that when you're playing this part, you don't have to just deal with the audience, there's also you're predecessors quietly judging you. Or not in McKellen's case.

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