Comics Creators

"The Play's The Thing" - a theatre thread


Apparently, it’ll be difficult to get tickets:

Tom Hiddleston is to star in a Kenneth Branagh-directed production of Hamlet – but for only three weeks in a theatre with 160 seats.

The production will raise money for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) and promises to be one of the hottest theatrical tickets of recent years.

The ballot opens at noon on Tuesday 1 August and tickets will be difficult for people to get their hands on.

Hiddleston, a Rada graduate, said Hamlet presented “almost limitless possibilities for interpretation”.

He’s learning all of the lines of Hamlet for three weeks only??? That guy is insane!

Or maybe the production will afterwards go on to open somewhere else?


Was this one of the first performances? I imagine they may have introduced something like that after a few. It’s one of the things that you won’t have prepared for during rehearsals because in theatres, it’s not the kind of issue you run into.

Sounds very cool, the whole thing.


Is that unusual? (I have no idea how long a play’s run would normally be. When the RSC come to Newcastle, they put on about five plays in a month, so each one gets probably less than a week.)


Would that be part of a tour?


Maybe. I have no idea what they do for the other 11 months of the year :smiley:


Time for the ‘rolls eye’ emoji.



Well, one season for a theatre usually equals one year. If a play goes well, it’ll keep going as long as there’s an audience - the No Man’s Land production with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart premiered in 2013 and is still going, and there was a Cologne production of a one-man play that went on for decades. It’s quite possible that one season/one year for one play in the normal run of things equals only as many or even fewer performances than Hiddleston does in his three weeks of Hamlet, if they have performances almost every night over those three weeks.

Of course, when you’re doing theatre with a school’s drama group, you often do only one or two performances. But then again, those kids are not international movie stars like Hiddleston is.

And the thing here is, the role of Hamlet has many, many lines indeed (even if you cut down the text by half or something).

EDIT: To give a rough impression, Hamlet has double the lines that Macbeth does: 1476 to 690. It’s a lot to learn by heart, and Hiddleston has never played the role before. So basically, Hiddleston must really have fun at learning Shakespeare lines.

If you want to gain an impression of how much work this is, try learning just the famous soliloquy by heart and see how long it takes you until you have it:

HAMLET: To be, or not to be–that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep–
No more–and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep–
To sleep–perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprise of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action. – Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia! – Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

[Obviously, learning stuff like this by heart is part of an actor’s training as well as natural skillset more than for any other person, but still. Just try it.]


By the same token, he doesn’t need to do this from a career point of view. So if he is doing Hamlet, it is because he wants to do it.

I have that off by heart…I used it in a sketch I wrote for a show I directed a couple of years ago. The actor who was playing the part (a professional I should add) did complain specifically about the Shakespeare lines and told me that I was a terrible writer, that these lines were contrived and wanted to know if he couldn’t make up his own lines.


The story I read does intimate that they will probably take it later to the West End and maybe Broadway later but they don’t know when.

I would think if they want maximum money raised for RADA they’d do one of the live cinema feeds. It may help deflect some of the criticism that’s come from the likes of Chris Ecclestone and Ian McShane that kids from working class backgrounds are being costed out compared to the Hiddlestone’s of this world if they had a bigger pot for scholarships.


It’s unlikely, as they already did Hamlet fairly recently, with Cumberbatch in 2015, and had done it before with Rory Kinnear in 2010.


I don’t think it would really matter. My friend Alex that runs a chain of Indie cinemas in middle class areas says they can’t get enough of them and they always sell out. Because they are limited events rather than a full theatrical run a lot of people miss out. They’ve done King Lear twice in 3 years too.


…you mean he didn’t know where the lines were from?


It was their first public performance. So it’s probably something that worked in rehearsal, but didn’t anticipate that venue’s limitations enough?


Yeah, exactly. It’s the kind of thing where you get blindsided because it’s never been a problem if they’re used to classic theatre environments. This kind of thing pretty much always happens to some extent, which is why plays keep evolving after the premiere, especially if you have changing venues.

I once did a thing where a play I was doing with my drama group was performed at a festival, in a big public theatre, and we rehearsed there once to figure out how the different stage, light etc. changed the dynamics of the play and there was one point where most of the actors leave the stage and when they re-enter, they come in through another door and walk through the audience. Thing is, the door they used to get to the audience entrance during rehearsals was suddenly locked in the evening, so they had to run around the whole building to get to the front in time for their entrance and were quite hard of breathing when they came in :smiley:




Good my lord. How does your honour for this many a day?



Maybe we should make a challenge of this and Millarworlders record themselves by-heart-recital their version of Hamlet’s soliloquy! Simon would be at an advantage though, obviously.


Does that mean I got my line right? Yay!

I have remembrances of yours that I have longed long to re-deliver.


Indeed it does. So when did you play Ophelia?


I just tried reciting it to myself at my desk. I got some funny looks. My colleague is checking with HR about what to do when your co-worker is having an existential crisis :smile:

But, I lost it at about There’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life." I obviously no longer know it nearly as well as I though. I must now hide my head in shame :disappointed:


Or, like, ACCEPT MY CHALLENGE that until this day next week we will have learned it and recorded ourselves reciting it!!!