The actor chatted to Emma Clarendon about starring in Iris Theatre’s production of Hamlet at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden.
How are you feeling about playing Hamlet? Playing Hamlet is the best gig in the world, it’s easy to see why the part has been revered by actors for so long. Being able to share the complexities and nuances of a character so well known with an audience is tremendously exciting for me, and I am stoked to able to share with audiences. I am not nervous but ask me again in a week!
What made you want to be part of this production? Dan’s vision for this piece is sufficiently timely and I think urgent in a world that continues to monopolise and monetise individuality and personal histories. It was incredibly important to me that this production would enable me to bring aspects of my own personality and gender identity into this vibrant and visionary interpretation.
Why do you think the play resonates with audiences? Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most quoted plays, perhaps for its universality. The tragedy seems to be heightened by the familial relations better than almost any other piece of drama. You can tell how much Shakespeare poured into every page, and feel the sense of urgency; the prose is effortlessly truthful, almost brutal in its honesty, you can instantly empathise with Hamlet in a way that is denied to audiences watching Lear or Titus. Many universal moments and themes are expressed better than almost any other piece of drama.
How would you describe your character Hamlet? Hamlet is a complete mess of contradictions which makes them one of the most thrilling and fleshed out characters ever to be committed to paper. I’m always discovering surprising new depths and I believe I’d continue to do so even if I played them right up until my dying day!
How has it been working with the rest of the cast and director Daniel Winder? It’s been a wonderfully fruitful four weeks of rehearsal. Our cast is remarkably, dynamically alive. I’m so grateful to work with Dan, he’s brilliantly bright and emotionally articulate and possessed of an astounding ability to get the best out of actors under any and all circumstances.
What can audiences expect from this production? This is a Hamlet unlike anything they’ve seen before. Despite the interpretation we’ve stayed quintessentially faithful to the original text and we don’t stray from the play’s darker aspects and themes, even amidst the irreverent joviality we’ve imbued the piece with.
By Emma Clarendon
Hamlet continues to play at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden until the 27th July.