Lady Hamlet directors Dominica Nicholls and Kirsty McGuire
If you like ladies, and you like Shakespeare, then boy do we have the podcast for you. Last week Dominica Nicholls and Kirsty McGuire joined your trusty hosts Charlotte Karp and Maren Smith on air to tell us about ‘Lady Hamlet’, the process of adaptation, gendered pronouns, misogyny and the feminine ending.
Dominica and Kirsty of Hell Shakespeare have taken Shakespeare’s Hamlet, changed a bunch of pronouns, assembled a huge cast, plenty of crew and other creatives, added video and a score, choreographed fight scenes, and are bringing ‘Lady Hamlet’ to the stage of the Fig Tree Theatre at the end of the month.
The full interview, including a song composed for Lady Hamlet by Simon Unwin, is up for podcasting on our feed. If you’re a regular subscriber just hit refresh, if you’re a new subscriber, follow the instructions on the ‘podcast’ page. But, because I know you people on the internet like reading things, here are some quotes from said interview:
On whether it was feminism or a love of the Bard that inspired the project:
‘I think it’s essentially a feminist project, but that wasn’t the motivation behind it, the motivation behind it, I feel, is ‘why should the boys have all the fun?’ – Kirsty McGuire
‘We are ladies who love Hamlet, and we know a lot of ladies who love Hamlet, and not just Hamlet but Shakespeare in general, and y’know, there’s only so long you can play Juliet and Lady Macbeth, and some comedic back up characters and mothers, before you get interested in a meatier role.’ – Dominica Nicholls
On changing some nouns and pronouns:
‘There’ll be some coneheads who’ll get upset that we put in an extra syllable in some lines, changing lords to ladies and princes to princesses… but I was taught that when you add an extra beat to a line of iambic pentameter it’s called a feminine ending, so we’re going to stick with that.’ – KM
On Hamlet’s emotional intelligence:
‘For us, I think Hamlet boils down to a bunch of self doubt, and self loathing, and getting very overwhelmed by these conflicting expectations … and I guess part of the point of the project is that these problems are faced as much, if not more, by women than they are by men. – DN
‘She’s very intelligent, almost too intelligent for her own good, and very introspective. There’s a plot device in the play where it keeps getting drawn out because she has this inability to avenge her father’s death… she spends an entire play dissecting every angle of this task thats been set for her.’ – KM
On Ophelia and Hamlet’s lesbian relationship:
‘One of the really interesting things about the play, is what changing Hamlet to a lady changes about the text, and what remains the same. So, the relationship with Ophelia is just as passionate, they are in love and it is a mess, and Ophelia is incredibly crushed by Hamlet being basically the worst partner, and all that remains the same, but because they’re now a queer couple there’s all of this interesting subtext, “Y’know, Hamlet’s a bisexual, its not going to last.” or “Y’know, ladies in love? Like that’s a real thing! This relationship isn’t officially recognised by anyone, you can’t even get married!” so that became a really interesting subtext. ‘ – DN
On Hamlet and her mother Gertrude:
‘In most interpretations since the 70s when Freud’s theory was popularised, everybody’s had this theory that Hamlet has an Oedipus complex and is in some way in love with his mother and that’s why he’s so disgsted that she remarries after his father is killed, but we’re not doing the Oedipus complex, we’re doing more of an Electra complex because she’s pretty obsessed wth her dad as well. – KM
‘Yeah, it’s sort of an Oedipus complex wrapped up in an Electra complex, or vice versa, because she is furious at her mother, and admires her mother, and is a little bit attracted to her mother, but it’s not the central issue with her mother, that sexual attraction isn’t really very important to either of the character’s development now, which I thought was more interesting.’ – DN
If that’s not enough quotes for you, you have to hear the podcast in full, or even better, get out and see Lady Hamlet which is on the week after next! Tickets are on sale now, and go to http://www.hellshakespeare.com/shows/ to get them, opening night is discounted!
Directed by Kirsty McGuire and Dominica Nicholls
Featuring: Pollyanna Nowicki, Shauntelle Benjamin, Peter Hoekstra-Bass, Kimberly Kelly, Sonya Kerr, Clare Cholerton, Sophia Halpin, Gabriel McCarthy, Josh Free, Sarah Whillier, David Friedman.
Fig Tree Theatre
4 High Street
You can download this podcast, as well as previous podcasts, for free from Something Else’s iTunes feed. Just copy and paste the following URL into the iTunes advanced podcast subscription search bar – http://www.cpod.org.au/feed.php?id=308