Urban Shakespeare

Date: 2007
Posted by: jenng7325
Cast: Svetlana (Barnado), Ted (Francisco, Polonius), Jenn (Horatio, Hamlet, Ophelia), Emily (Marcellus, Queen, Laertes),
Credits: None given
Duration: 7.03

What is it about taking Shakespeare out into the streets that so appeals (at least to me)? It’s something about placing poetry among the mundane, a flowering of feeling amid the everyday, as though anyone of us has a Shakespearean that lurks within, much as we might dream of how plain passers-by could suddenly believe themselves to be in a musical and start to dance and sing. All the world’s a stage, as someone once said.

At any rate, it’s a form of Shakespeare that is particularly suited to online video. It brings together amateurism and opportunity, charm and sincerity. The example here isn’t entirely street, but effectively so. Three young women and one young man from St Albans, Vermont, put on scenes from Hamlet outside then inside their local Price Chopper, and on the steps of the city hall. The plainness of the performances matches the ordinariness of the locations, and there’s a clever touch when the ghost of Hamlet’s father is portrayed by car headlights. Plus it must be something of a first to have the one performer play Hamlet, Horatio and Ophelia (albeit in different scenes).

In a bravura final scene the players invade a clothing store and recite a cacophony of soliloquies while the camera swirls about them, to the apparent bemusement of the staff. Though the video’s scenes seem to have been shot while the general public was nearby (certainly so in the Price Chopper sequence) their reactions are not seen. That would be true street Shakespeare – discovered accidentally by those who pass by, looking on a bit bewildered, but secretly just possibly moved.

Links:
YouTube page

Advertisements