Ideas

To Be or Not To Be: The Prince of Denmark Meets Katherine Minola

A play is really only complete when it's produced on the stage; director, actors, designers all add new levels of meaning only suggested by the text. And when and where the play is produced changes how it's seen, too. So -- what makes one production of a play different from another, and what are the different challenges the actors face?
Actors from Stratford Festival on what they discovered while playing in Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew 2:28
Listen to the full episode53:58

A play is really only complete when it's produced on the stage; director, actors, designers all add new levels of meaning only suggested by the text. And when and where the play is produced changes how it's seen, too. So -- what makes one production of a play different from another, and what are the different challenges the actors face?


From the 2015 Stratford Festival, a trio of Hamlets - Brent Carver, Jonathan Goad and Ben Carlson -- and a trio of Kates - Lucy Peacock, Irene Poole and Seana McKenna --  talk about what they discovered in creating their characters.


What is it about Shakespeare's plays that brings us back time and again?
 

Almost no one thinks that seeing just one production of, say, King Lear will reveal everything that the play is about -- and many of us go back time and again in our lifetimes, revisiting those miraculous plays, each time finding something new to learn about ourselves, our world, and the endless complexities of being human. Five-hundred-year-old eternal truths.

Actors, of course, explore the depths of Shakespeare in ways that audiences never can, and every actor finds something different. No two Hamlets struggle over the death of a father in quite the same way; no one Katherine figures out how to make a marriage work just like another. The lines may be the same, but what you find is different.

This episode is comprised of excerpts from two public forums at the 2015 Stratford Festival.

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