Tag Archives: Hamlet

Shakespeare Characters: Analyzing the Lead Roles

Taking your dream role among the roster of Shakespeare characters available is already a challenge in itself. Most of the time, The Bard of Avon manages to dish out characters that are not 2-dimensional. It’s a given. Nothing is totally good or bad. In fact, most of them involved personalities that are neither good or bad which really says a lot about how these characters are ahead of their time.

What made these roles memorable? It’s the tragedy as presented in the way human beings react to the situations presented to them. Theater has a way of influencing public opinion in a way that most political speeches can’t perhaps because the best actors have a way of presenting the frailty of the human will power. It touches the audience that makes the story relateable, they become instant conversation fodder for months in the community where they got staged. Now who could they be?

– Richard III

One of the earliest characters that Shakespeare wrote with a clear dark streak, this is one of the earliest characters that The Bard of Avon wrote that is unapologetically evil, at least in the vision of the person who wrote the play. So the challenge on the part of the actor assigned with this role is portraying him as someone evil without looking too caricature-ish. Remember that there are some scenes where he had to pretend to be someone not interested with power in order to gain more power. That’s how layered the role is – a testament to Shakespeare’s talent as a playwright with human behavior as basis of his characters. Despite the politically-charged storyline, actors throughout the years managed to assume this role and get away with it. Presenting it today might still ruffle some feathers knowing the slightly biased interpretation but that perception would still rely on how the actor chose to give life to this character onstage.

– Julius Caesar

Speaking of biases, Shakespeare tried to strike a balance story-wise with the play “Julius Caesar”. As a character though, while doing your own research by browsing through data available online, much about the character is based on the playwright’s perceptions of the prominent Roman. It is a similar with unapologetically evil characterization as that of Richard III except that as a character, he cared less about what people around him thought hence the “ear” comment. That eventually led to a tragic end that was earlier than expected in the play. Playing this character ran the risk of looking too brash or too arrogant to the point of parodying the typical Roman leader.

– Falstaff

If ever there is one amoral character that can be played for laughs and still come across as challenging, it would be Falstaff. This is one character that was intended to be funny without the character realizing how much of a tool he has become. This was evident in the play “The Merry Wives of Windsor” where he was so confident in trying to woo 2 women that he did not even bother writing 2 different letters to them. While this role is written with a very fat guy in mind to play him, some versions feature an actor wearing a fat suit since his gut often served as proof of his gluttony and high sense of self. The biggest challenge for an actor is how to make Falstaff funny without the character realizing how his attitude has turned him into a laughingstock that his opponents found too easy to fool in an attempt to beat him in his own game.

Shakespeare Books: Random Commentary of Shakespeare’s Works

– Macbeth

Now we find a character that may not really be evil but was pushed by his own ambition. He just didn’t realize that he aspired to be king one day if not for the 3 witches he encountered and his wife, Lady Macbeth, discovering their prophecy. He killed the king and all potential heirs that he managed to find. He then grew overconfident over the prophecy (yes, another prophecy) that no man born of a woman can ever kill him. The challenge that an actor faces in portraying this role lies in the character development from being a dutifully obedient knight to throne usurper to paranoid king filled with insecurities to an overconfident decorated warrior. Very different from previously mentioned roles as those involved a consistent mean streak compared to playing Macbeth.

– Othello

And speaking of insecurities, we now move to perhaps the lead character with the worst insecurities ever written, “The Lion of Venice”, Othello. Have you ever wondered how a warrior as decorated and accomplished as he is, he would easily be swayed into thinking that his wife, Desdemona, is being unfaithful to him? It says more about Othello than the person feeding him the misinformation, Iago. The character development can be compared to that of Macbeth except that Othello had a scarier temper. The challenge that actors face when playing this role is how to snap, kill and later, weep, while still looking manly. Remember that apart from being heart-broken for being made to think that Desdemona is cheating on him, his ego is also bruised. Othello may have been many things, but he is not a wimp. Think manly tears.

– King Lear

Now while we are at the topic involving words that meant to sway, while Iago sang platitudes to Othello at the expense of Desdemona’s reputation, the 2 daughters of King Lear flattered their father expecting to be favored of a larger slice of the pie of inheritance. Splitting his inheritance based on verbal assurance of his daughters’ love for him, it sure made a case on his state of sanity or lack of it. The harsh realizations of the kind of daughters he ended up having pushed him to madness, the kind of retirement from power that he did not expect. Despite having 2 endings to pick, the toughest challenge that this role poses is infusing senility into the fall to insanity. The actor need not be of advanced age. Just old enough to act the part of someone “nag-uulyanin” (dementia) aggravated by the corrupt world that he has witnessed.

Top 5 Hamlet Facts

– Hamlet

Finally, the craziest role in this list, the title role in “Hamlet”. When Hamlet chose to mourn his father’s death than celebrate his mother’s wedding to his uncle, he went crazy. He felt himself losing his grip on reality but still managed to grasp at straws just in time to plot vengeance against his uncle whom he thought poisoned his father to usurp the throne. The biggest challenge to the actor (read: moi) is playing the role of a character who’s halfway into insanity. Halfway because as much as he can feel like losing his head, it was not totally natural. Since his own head is messed up, he found it fitting to mess with everyone’s heads as well. The consequences were tragic, of course. And perhaps the best way to handle this role is to lose all inhibitions and just snap.

Hamlet with Kuya, 2015

Such colorful characters that makes you think that Shakespeare studied human behavior at close range in order to come up with memorable personalities in his plays. These are the kind of roles that the actors that are most serious with their craft constantly aspire for. This explained best why I consider Hamlet as my pride and glory. And I would appreciate it very much if you would go out of your way and see the remaining performances of Hamlet at DITO Bahay ng Sining. Dates and ticket prices are on the poster itself. For more updates like special deals and other theatrical productions that I will be participating in, please like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano. Gracias!

The Acting Motif in Hamlet

The Acting Motif in Hamlet

Hamlet - Theater in the Philippines.
Characters acting on top of duties they are currently acting. And all of these functions make it exceptionally tough to differentiate who is acting and who is real. The acting concept in Hamlet is mirrored through virtually every scene, and impacts virtually every character in the play. Lets analize the acting motif in Hamlet then.

King Claudius is continually acting throughout the play to conceal his real self from those around him. Of all, the play begins out with Claudius acting as the grieving and excellent king after the loss of his sibling. The King just desires to keep Hamlet close by so he can keep a close eye on the genuine successor.

Other apparently worried acts follow as the King asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet, and to return any details the King might make use of to assist his stepson. In addition, the King has compassion with Laertes about Hamlet killing his papa, Polonius. He is just acting this method to control Laertes into disposing of his biggest danger, Hamlet.

Hamlet’s mom, Queen Gertrude, likewise does her share of acting within the play. She rejected the presence of the issue, and acted as if the only possible cause of Hamlet’s habits was “his daddy’s death and our o’erhasty marital relationship”. In other words, was Gertrude purposefully acting the whole time with the sense of guilt near the surface area, or did she bury this sense of guilt so far that she ended up being the character she was acting?

In addition, Laertes is controlled by the King to act as a reasonable candidate in a friendly sword match with the prince, when, in reality, he and the King are preparing on killing Hamlet. Laertes acts in the sword match as if he has no mal-intent, however is in fact utilizing the act as a device for vengeance. At the wish of the King, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern act as close pals of Hamlet in order to spy on him and acquire favor with the King.

Polonius likewise carries out acts on top of the act he is currently carrying out for the King. In addition, he likewise directs a number of other characters in their efforts to act. The only times that Polonius appears not to be acting is in Act 1, Scene 3, when he is talking with his youngsters, and whenever he is talking about acting, for example, with the gamers and Hamlet.

Hamlet definitely acts throughout the play, it is tough to determine when he is acting, and when he is not. Hamlet may be believing that if he acts mad, he might be enabled more liberty to check out the information of the criminal activity, without being captured in the act. Was Hamlet acting in Ophelia’s bed room, in the Hall throughout his discussion with Ophelia, throughout the play, and in his mom’s chamber?

The only major characters in the play who do not act are Horatio and Fortinbras. And Fortinbras does anything however camouflage his objectives through acting. Exactly what I discover fascinating is that in addition to being the only primary characters not to act, they are likewise the only primary characters left alive at the end of the play.

In general, we have actually seen how the acting theme has actually impacted the major characters. The acting concept in Hamlet is mirrored through virtually every scene, and influences practically every character in the play.


Hamlet – Theater in the Philippines

Ikarus Productions presents “Hamlet” at DITO Bahay ng Sining, a theater in the Philippines. One of the most memorable and perhaps most disturbing among William Shakespeare’s plays, it tells the story of Hamlet, heir to the throne of Denmark, whose sanity started hanging by a thread after his father’s untimely demise and her mother’s marriage to her uncle. He immediately sensed something is wrong and plotted revenge before his insanity goes full circle. Or has it?


CLAUDIUS… Gian Carlo Patello IV

HORATIO… Jan Leyson

Hamlet - Theater in the Philippines
GERTRUDE… Natalia Go

Hamlet - Theater in the Philippines
POLONIUS… Andre Alcantara

Hamlet - Theater in the Philippines
LAERTES… Sky Abundo

Hamlet - Theater in the Philippines
OPHELIA… Danielle de Leon

Hamlet - Theater in the Philippines.
HAMLET… Kuya Manzano

Lighting Designer… Jan Leyson asstd. by Gian Carlo Patello IV
Sounds Designer…. Jonathan Rodriguez
Production Designer… Claudine Delfin & Jay Crisostomo IV
Graphic Designer… Claudine Delfin
Direction… Jay Crisostomo IV

Director Jay Crisostomo IV chose to present the play with a neutral accent as he views this as more about entering the mind of Hamlet rather than focusing on getting the accents right. “It is a story which must be told with the ferocity of its topic but with also the gentleness of its protagonist. Hamlet screams ‘Murther!’ but before that final scream was the million-billion struggles which comes from the meek heart of a boy,” he shares.

The critically-acclaimed play will be staged on February 20, 21, 22, 27 and 28 and March 6, 7 and 8 at DITO Bahay ng Sining located in J. Molina St. corner Guizama St., Concepcion Uno, Marikina City. It will also be staged on iChill Theater Cafe on March 13 and 14 at 8pm and March 15 at 4pm. Directions and instructions as to how to get to DITO Bahay ng Sining can be referred to Arion through his contact details  0935 966 8769 or email ikarus.ph@gmail.com. Directions on going to iChill Theater Cafe can be accessed through Facebook & Twitter. Other details regarding special discounts and other similar deals can be seen on my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Page, and my Twitter account @kuyamanzano. Hope to see you there. Gracias!

Shakespeare Best Sonnets

Reading Shakespeare’s best sonnets can be challenging especially when it is not included in the repertoire that you’re supposed to practice. It’s understandable anyway how some sonnets only get analyzed whenever you feel like browsing some of them to read on your free time and realize the aspects that made them extra interesting.

Well, writers will be writers and they would always find inspiration when they need it, modesty be damned. In case you’re a prude, consider yourself warned. I never pretended to be a decent man as I have urges that make me read some lines with colorful images hovering above my head. Just like the advice Mercutio gave his forlorn friend, Romeo, in the play “Romeo and Juliet”:

If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.
Now will he sit under a medlar tree
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars when they laugh alone.
O Romeo, that she were! Oh, that she were
An open arse, and thou a poperin pear

shakespeare best sonnetS

In what way can love not hit the mark? While Romeo had to intimately talk to Juliet in order to realize how much she loved him too, a little advice went naughty once you try re-reading the lines. Too bad, Romeo is too innocent to realize it. Just in case you missed the line that says “open arse”, you then would realize that Romeo needed to pop her in pear. Well, that escalated quickly. Then again, you know teenagers always have had issues with raging hormones.

And speaking of hormones, The Bard must have thought of Adonis as someone too hot and alluring for the Roman goddess Venus to resist. Too bad he’s a prick. But what is it really that the latter found attractive in this arrogant prick? Let’s face it. Some good-looking men deliberately act the part of the prick because it makes them extra attractive. It must have been that air of mystery that engulfs them in such a facade. Such is his sex appeal that Shakespeare found it fitting for Venus to say:

‘Fondling,’ she saith, ‘since I have hemm’d thee here
Within the circuit of this ivory pale,
I’ll be a park, and thou shalt be my deer;
Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale:
Graze on my lips; and if those hills be dry,
Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.

shakespeare best sonnetS

Parks are meant for walking. Deers are meant for hunting. Tread on those hills and find some nice fountains gone gushing. And you realize it’s the Roman goddess of love gone rhyming. When erotica is sweetened with the help of double entrende, it makes you guess what Adonis is thinking. Which pair of lips should he be grazing?

And just when you thought it’s only women that are good with messing with their lovers’ heads, think again. One memorable exchange occurred in the play “Hamlet” between Hamlet and Ophelia. Ophelia is trying to strike up a decent conversation with Hamlet even if she can sense how his sanity is starting to get the best of him. The dialogue went as this.

Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

No, my lord.

I mean, my head upon your lap.

Ay, my lord.

Do you think I meant country matters?

I think nothing, my lord.

That’s a fair thought to lie between maid’s legs.

What is, my lord?


shakespeare best sonnetS

It’s all in the head and it’s a discussion about the head. In a sense, just when you thought that the welcome malice is all in Ophelia’s head when it comes to discussing where Hamlet may enter his head, Hamlet would twist the conversation about a place to lay his head. Sometimes Ophelia interprets the conversation as Hamlet giving her head only for Hamlet to adjust his choice of words in a way to refer to her lap as a resting place for his head. Then he mentioned resting “between maid’s legs” and Ophelia is confused all over again. See? Even our own heads got messed along with theirs.

If reading between the lines recited in several soliloquy stanzas delivered in plays like “Hamlet” hasn’t messed you up just yet, go and watch us in full crazy glory as I mess up with your heads as well. It would be a blast for me to play the titular role of Hamlet at DITO Bahay ng Sining. Updates, play dates and ticket prices would be displayed at my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and at my Twitter account @kuyamanzano. I would appreciate it very much if you would follow both accounts on social media for real-time updates. See you there.

Shakespeare Books: Random Commentary of Shakespeare’s Works

Reading Shakespeare in its original form can be taxing for someone like me whose mother tongue is not even English. What more for the native English speakers who happened to be compatriots of the The Bard? It can put your mental stamina to the test especially when faced with text peppered with apostrophes and Victorian references that may not be always applicable today.

So how about analyzing the storylines as condensed in the books found on Project Gutenberg? Summarized versions of the books are found there for everyone to get a gist on the play that some folks plan to stage. A few ideas won’t hurt granted that I remove the spoilers. If you insist on the spoilers, just click on the images to see them.

Shakespeare Books: Random Commentary of Shakespeare’s Works
Screenshot from the 1936 film, “As You Like It”

– As You Like It

Perhaps the laziest title ever, it was the story about Orlando and Rosalind. The fact that Orlando had a brother who treated him like crap and Rosalind’s father got exiled by his brother to steal the duke title meant destiny. Well, more like finding a kindred spirit except that the next time Orlando met Rosalind, he didn’t recognize her anymore. Rosalind disguised herself as a guy when she escaped her uncle with her cousin, Celia, who in turn disguised herself as a poor lady. Yeah, long before Pinoys enjoyed gender-bending soaps from J-Drama and K-Drama, The Bard has been writing stuff like this. “As You Like It” is his best among them though. And the part about lazy titles has some truth to it too.

Shakespeare Books: Random Commentary of Shakespeare’s Works
Screenshot from Wisecrack’s YouTube channel


Originally titled “The Tragedy of Macbeth”, it is about Macbeth who realized he got some malevolence in him the moment he received the prophecy from the 3 witches about him being the next king of Scotland. He never knew he wanted to be king until Lady Macbeth pushed him to. Maybe she’s just the flicker needed. So he killed the king. She framed the sons and the remaining heirs to the throne escaped, which gets you thinking what kind of upbringing they received. He accumulated power and wealth and thought that he’s invincible. The moment he realized that his reign is endangered, he had to go back to the 3 witches who told him about prophecies related to the only things that can endanger his rule. Too bad he read them all wrong especially the part about no human being born of a woman could ever kill him.

Shakespeare Books: Random Commentary of Shakespeare’s Works
Screenshot from Wisecrack’s YouTube channel

Romeo and Juliet

If there is one love story that set the trend for most soaps today, it’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Young teens that fell in love way before they realized their families are enemies, sometimes it serves as a commentary about how the young fall too fast and think too slow. Not that falling in love is a bad thing but a series of coincidences and a whole lot of recklessness later [SPOILER ALERT], the couple is dead. And it all began with a letter that did not make it to the recipient. Such is the time when smartphones don’t exist yet.

Shakespeare Books: Random Commentary of Shakespeare’s Works
Screenshot from Wisecrack’s YouTube channel


A tale of jealousy gone wrong, it showed how the jealousy of Iago spurned him to push Othello to be jealous of his wife, Desdemona. And all because Othello picked Cassio instead of Iago for promotion. Iago then made it look like Desdemona is having an affair with Cassio, driving Othello mad with jealousy. Knowing how the opera version composed by Giuseppe Verdi chose to focus on this drama shows how Othello, as much as he is dubbed as “The Lion of Venice”, is just as guilible and powerless when it comes to wolves in sheep’s clothing just like Iago. Othello chose to believe his new aide instead of his own wife and it produced irreversible and painful consequences. I told you I won’t spoil much.

Shakespeare Books: Random Commentary of Shakespeare’s Works
Screenshot from Wisecrack’s YouTube channel


And of course, Hamlet, the inspiration behind Lion King except that it was not mentioned in the animated film whether Scar had to marry Simba’s mom to be king. Here, it’s the marriage between his mother, Gertrude, and his uncle, Claudius. He was like “Mom, Dad’s barely a year dead and you got remarried? And to uncle, of all people?” It drove him nuts and jumped to the conclusion that no woman can’t live without a man, to hell with being a virtuous woman. He delivered a series of soliloquies that suggested he’s bonkers. He pushed Ophelia away before he could cheat on him (I told you he’s bonkers) and staged his plan for vengeance that could have suggested that he may not be as bonkers as we thought him to be. One big guarantee is that it turned out to be the greatest play that The Bard had ever written.

Hamlet with Kuya, 2015

And so was the title of the play that I will be headlining as shown on the dates written on the poster. Everybody knew I’m bonkers and I can’t blame them if that’s best criteria they used for casting me as Hamlet. I hope to see you there. Don’t worry, I don’t bite. I would appreciate it more if you like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano. Gracias!

Top 5 Hamlet Facts

Watching some previous versions of Hamlet get me thinking how taxing this role can get. At first I thought I would have a field day playing this role. I’m unapologetically crazy anyway. But I forgot that it is still Shakespeare after all.

So exploring the role ended up discovering several interesting facts about the play itself. The origins, the records it held and the limits of being crazy applied on the role to remind the audience that while Hamlet’s sanity is going nowhere, he still tried to put up a facade of being “normal”.

Top 5 Hamlet Facts

– Hamlet is based on Amleth

Amleth is the tale of a young Viking warrior who comes home to find his father murdered and his mother marrying his uncle, a presumed attempt to avoid a power vacuum. What power vacuum when the son usually succeeds the dead king? Anyway, Hamlet was performed in the early 1600’s which is proof that even way back then, adaptations of European literature is already common.

Top 5 Hamlet Facts

– Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play ever

That’s how indecisive Hamlet is in plotting revenge. He got too preoccupied with acting forlorn, depressed and antisocial that he can’t even bring himself to do it or did he? It makes the question “To be or not to be?” almost irrelevant to the scheme he concocted to push his uncle to come clean whether he killed his own brother for the throne or not.

What possibly lengthened the play was the series of soliloquies recited here. Again, another sign of indecisiveness on Hamlet’s part as he puts too much effort on contemplating his revenge that all he ever accomplished is a series of monologues directed to himself.

Top 5 Hamlet Facts

– Hamlet, in turn, has an opera adaptation too

3 of Shakespeare’s straight plays have had opera adaptations and Hamlet is the only one in French. With music by French composer Ambroise Thomas, it was shorter compared to the 4-hour long version of Shakespeare. Some versions even show Hamlet cutting himself on the torso and his forearms to stomach the sight of his mother marrying his uncle less than 2 months after the king died.

There was even a version that did not mind presenting Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, as a sex-starved widow. Either she really was in the play as Shakespeare intended or some directors chose to present the opera in the twisted point of view of Hamlet.

Top 5 Hamlet Facts

– Hamlet is about madness, real and faked

The challenge for the actor is to avoid going over-the-top when the character is feigning madness. The challenge for the audience is to guess which parts are legitimate crazy and which parts are just pissing the rest of the characters off. Hamlet seemed to enjoy the attention he’s getting from the craziness he exuded ever since he fell into depression.

The real insanity that is easiest to spot in this play is how Hamlet pushed Ophelia away from him. His mother’s marriage to Claudius really ruined his view of women as said in the line “Frailty, thy name is Woman!” So before Ophelia would get a chance to cheat on him, Hamlet pushed her away.

Top 5 Hamlet Facts

– Hamlet’s full original title is “The Tragedy of Hamlet: Prince of Denmark”

It due time it simply got referred to as “Hamlet” since much of the story revolved around him. The word “tragedy” in the title sounded like a spoiler although some deaths are not physical.

I am excited to play Hamlet next month. Expectations are high. I welcome the pressure because an actor has got to what an actor has got to do. No regrets. Roles like this can really get you thinking how therapeutic theater can get. It will be staged in February although you have to keep yourself posted for updates for the particular dates. Just like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, and follow me on Twitter @kuyamanzano to learn about them first. See you around.

To Be or Not To Be: The Evolution of Hamlet as a Piece of Theatrical Literature

Hamlet is one of the most memorable roles ever to establish the Shakespearean plays as challenging from the get-go. Not everyone is willing to take the risk in inhabiting this role, whether straight play, musical or opera (yes, the opera version was by French composer Ambroise Thomas).

What is the play Hamlet all about? Its full title is actually “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”. The tragedy pertained to is the vengeance that Hamlet plotted on his own uncle, Claudius, whom he suspected of killing his father, King Hamlet, in order to seize the throne and marry his widow, Gertrude.

Where did he get this idea? The 2009 version aired on BBC shows Hamlet seeing the ghost of his father. Here, King Hamlet tells his son how he actually died. He was poisoned by his brother after seducing and corrupting his wife. It was this act of treachery that would not put his spirit at peace, summoning his son to avenge his death. It’s quite different from some versions where the ghost would appear to Horatio, Hamlet’s confidante, and other guards and would demand vengeance as well only for Hamlet himself to go to that same spot and see the ghost.

Could it be that the ghost’s appearance was so timely – at the time that Hamlet is halfway through madness? At the banquet that Claudius and Gertrude hosted, Hamlet was the only one wearing black. And Hamlet could only state the obvious. King Hamlet just died and Claudius rushed in to marry the widowed queen. It was as if she’s so afraid to return to her bed alone.

It also shattered Hamlet’s view on women so much that he started pushing Ophelia away from him, afraid that she will betray him too right after his death. If madness can be diagnosed as something contagious then it applies on Ophelia although her madness would go much later.

The main difference in the BBC version? An attempt at modernity. As you may have realized, the CCTV installed in the palace served as a plot device to present the ghost as a “ghost” that cannot be captured on camera and to record Hamlet’s descent into madness.

To Be or Not To Be: The Evolution of Hamlet as a Piece of Theatrical Literature
David Temnant as Hamlet in the 2009 BBC version

It gave Hamlet the idea that he’s some lab rat subjected to scrutiny by everyone including Ophelia’s father. Sometimes it comes across as an attempt to speed up the narration here and focus on the madness instead. It’s the version that served as contrast to Kenneth Branagh’s version.

The Shakespearean purists enjoyed Branagh’s version – the 1996 version that he directed with him donning the titular role of Hamlet. Realizing how multi-layered this play could ever get, he tried to balance the presentation of Hamlet’s madness and the court intrigue. It makes you question too if Hamlet is really mad or everyone in the palace just refuses to address the awkwardness of the situation between Claudius and Gertrude.

Have you ever felt like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? No need to pretend to understand Hamlet when in fact you don’t. Some men find comfort in listening to their own understanding of the world. And you realize the difficulty in portraying a man this crazy. The craziest people in the world are the folks that are least aware of the levels of insanity that they have plunged into.

If Hamlet is not crazy, what does he think he is? If Branagh’s version is to be viewed, Hamlet views himself as a philosopher – one with depressing view of the world. So depressing that it seems as if he’s just speaking just to watch the people around him react. For a mind so messed up, he’d like to mess up everyone’s minds as well. Otherwise, there won’t be rapid cuts to the facial expressions displaying the reactions to whatever Hamlet says.

It’s the least that he can do because he can’t bring himself to kill his uncle. He is not even sure if the ghost that talked to him is really his father’s ghost. What is left for him to do? Spit invective quotes and suspect everyone, including Ophelia, of whatever he could manage to accuse them of.

Excuses, excuses. It’s the kind of performance that made the line “To be or not to be” credible if Hamlet’s indecisiveness is to be identified. Hamlet is a character that is too messed up in the head to even take action into his plans. And it’s also the kind of multi-layered prose that placed immense pressure on actors to deliver them right. In other words, challenge accepted since I will be playing Hamlet in February at DITO Marikina.

To Be or Not To Be: The Evolution of Hamlet as a Piece of Theatrical Literature
Image from RogerEbert.com

To like or not to like, that should not even be a question. Like my official Facebook page, Kuya Manzano Fan Club, in order to keep yourself updated of my next projects like Hamlet. See you around.