Before Such Sweet Sorrow, I’ve never had to a play a character who is crazy in love. Or dangerously in love. Or drunk in love. And then along comes Juliet; the beautifully warm-hearted, intelligent daughter of the Capulet household, who falls truly, madly, deeply in love with the son of her family’s sworn enemy in a few short days. This isn’t just a ‘girls love Beyoncé’ kind of love (although, I do really love Beyoncé), it’s a bleeding love. A love so strong that she can’t bear to live without Romeo.
We’ve all been told that you can’t hurry love, so how does one act this whirlwind of a romance with integrity and truth? Love and acting are two things that differ for each individual, but whether or not you have experienced this crazy little thing called love, there are a few things to remember that can you help translate love from the page to stage.
- Love is all around. We see love everywhere. Sometimes it’s obvious, eg. some sort of flash mob that turns into a marriage proposal, or a man in a funny hat playing a violin and serenading his love, but most of the time it’s a lot subtler… seeing a film that you didn’t really like for the second time with a friend who hasn’t seen it yet, or sharing that last piece of double chocolate cake, imported from France. Seriously, if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
- Could you be loved? When you’re in the scene are you listening, are you engaging, are you trying to be as present and in the moment as possible? Let self-consciousness take a back seat. Love is a two way street, so let go of that pestering voice in your head and join the love club.
- I love you always forever. Commit 10000%. For Romeo and Juliet, love is everything. They know that what started as a teenage love affair, could be a significant turning point in a seemingly never-ending family feud. The thing about love is that it works in mysterious ways. Although Romeo and Juliet’s lives end tragically, their love is not a losing game… if they were only a little bit in love, it probably would have been.
P. S. I love you
There are 21 song titles embedded in the text. Ten pieces of double chocolate cake, imported from France, for anyone who finds them all!
I thought rather than stating the obvious and rambling on about what a wonderful, fulfilling and challenging experience this has been so far, I would focus this blog entry on some little tips regarding the travel aspects of the job. During our recent tour to schools on the South Coast of New South Wales I realised there are some key things that one must be aware of when hitting the road.
1. When checking into your accommodation, you shouldn’t necessarily expect your name to be correct. When I made it up to my luxurious hotel room in Wollongong, I was greeted with a note that said ‘Dear Snape’. At first I just assumed that all four of us would have had our names listed back to front, but after further discussion it became clear that someone at the hotel thought that my Harry Potter surname was amusing and I was the only one who had been welcomed in this manner.
2. Always carry essentials. This includes a coffee plunger.
3. Don’t get too excited by the spa and sauna. Baking yourself is not recommended before a 3 show day.
4. When booking a massage, check that you know where you are going.
5. Be picky with your music choices in the car. Your fellow tour friends might not appreciate listening to Nintendo 64 Mario Kart sound effects on repeat through a rather large sound system.
6. Jamberoo Recreation Park isn’t a school. Don’t encourage a detour there when you are on your way to a show.
7. Don’t spray perfume in the car when all of the windows are up.
8. The companions that share the road with you are not always friendly. Bumper stickers say a lot about a person.
9. Don’t have more than one navigating device going at once. 3 different robot voices from various countries will raise the blood pressure.
10. Keep reminding yourself how brilliant this job is. It really is one in a million.
“Hamlet’s unique appeal is that no other protagonist of high tragedy still seems paradoxically so free. In Act V, his is barely still in the play like Whitman’s ‘real me’ or ‘me myself’ the final Hamlet is both in and out of the game while watching and wondering at it.”
Harold Bloom, The Invention of the Human (1998)
Playing Hamlet, albeit in this economic, shotgun form, stretches and changes you. I don’t say that to emphasize his uniqueness or to mystify the role or my relation to it, but to declare a joyful war with the slings and arrows of touring and plant my feet in the garden of endurance.
It’s no secret that throughout the year all eight Players will be working at maximum capacity. But that is a gift, for we get to exist in the sweat and dirt of these plays; then shower away their sad crimes at the turn of each day. Literary critic Harold Bloom talks about Hamlet the play as an ‘Unlimited Poem’ – thanks to our director Paul Reichstein for telling me about this essay – in that the very consciousness of the play bleeds into something that transcends its own language.
At the end of the play, Hamlet’s last words “the rest is silence” are spoken by someone who has said so much, and challenged the universe with an artillery of questions that, speaking literarily, surpass even the force of the achaean army, led by that Hamlet-of-the-body, Achilles, on its way to victory over the Trojans. But Hamlet resolves that the most important, primordial and unchanging of things cannot be pinned down (and killed) with the dagger of the word. So, to silence myself and end this brief reflection, I’ll let James P. Carse respond to Bloom’s quote above:
‘There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.”
– James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games (1987)
Hamlet’s death, its infinite silence (like all deaths), is a resolve to continue the unending game, to be an infinite player. The untold secret of playing in schools is, ‘this is the game: do you want to play?’ Hamlet certainly asks that of me.
Rowan, Team V