Choices – to be or not to be, that is the question
For any actor there is probably only one part to aspire to in their theatrical career. To play Hamlet can define you as an actor and ensure your legacy is forever talked and written about for generations to come.
Of course, it helps if you are famous to start with! Recently I saw Jude Law on stage in London in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy and was impressed. Jude Law - famous for his good looks and sex appeal - has recently had a patchy run of luck with his latest films. Nothing seems quite as successful as ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ when he played the playboy son of a shipping tycoon living a carefree life in Italy with his beautiful girlfriend on his father’s money. It was a part that saw him nominated for Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
So, did his portrayal of this Prince of Denmark mark a change in his theatrical fortunes? The character of Hamlet is difficult and complex; full of contradictions. How real is his madness? Is he consumed by grief at the death of his father? Does he really love Ophelia?
He shows Hamlet’s mental decline convincingly as well as his introspection – ‘to be or not to be’ – his rejection of Ophelia and rage against his mother. It is an intense, impassioned performance and it must be exhausting to be on the stage so much for almost 3 hours, but he certainly gives his all.
The audience were enthusiastic too. One fan described Jude Law’s performance as ‘totally absorbing’ and said ‘you get really drawn into the character and the cast are excellent’. It’ll be interesting to see how the New York audiences react when it opens there later this year.
Jude Law recently said of his acting “My only obligation is to keep myself and other people guessing.” However much you know about Hamlet I think he did that, which is the secret of any memorable performance of this play.