866. Shakespeare’s bad hair day

866hamlet

William Shakespeare was in a bad mood. He’d finished writing a play called Hamlet. He’d spent ages copying out the parts. You try doing that with a feather. The entire cast can’t rehearse using just the one script.

Done! All done! And then he gets a message from the director. Some of the bits need to be workshopped.

Shakespeare detested workshopping. It was like having his play redesigned by a committee. Things always boiled down to a compromise. What happened to artistic integrity? And it meant, when all was workshopped and done, he’d have to write out the revised parts all over again.

Shakespeare went along to the theatre. Zounds! Robert Langrope was there. He always had lots to say. He put his mouth into drone and would prate one boring suggested revision after another. Of course, the play’s director had a thing for young Robert. He couldn’t help but think that everything Robert said was wonderful.

“This line here,” said Robert to Shakespeare. “To live or not to live, that is the problem. Would it not be better to say, To be or not to be, that is the question?”

Quite frankly, Shakespeare had a gutsful. He’d been there all afternoon.

“As you will,” said Shakespeare. “Do what you damn well like.” He stormed out.

35 thoughts on “866. Shakespeare’s bad hair day

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    Your image of poor Willie copying out a script with a quill pen got me thinking….I’ll bet Shakespeare used “sides” rather than full scripts for each actor. In the days when I was involved in theatre, I would go through the script with a highlihghing pen to mark my cues and lines, then transfer them to index cards..etc. to learn them. Now they have a mobile app for that, called SCENE PARTNER to help you rehearse !

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    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      It’s still a lot to write with a feather! They say it would take 20 people 20 years to write down everything that J.S. Bach composed (not that we have any more of it than a third or so of it still extant).

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    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Would it what! Make sure you hand you own notebooks down! I believe the famous line is a bit of a joke about Christopher Marlowe’s play “Doctor Faustus”. Faust was the professor of Philosophy at the university Hamlet attended. Hence the “to be or not to be” echoes lines in the Marlowe play!

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