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November 09, 2005


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A.C. Douglas

Please do not put words into my mouth, so to speak. I did NOT say, "the script is the play in its entirety." Read again what I wrote, please, both in my posts, and more particularly in my comment-section response to your comment in that comments section on Scott Walters blog. What I said there was that a well-made text, far from being "merely words" or a "stem cell" (as you put it), contains in words everything necessary from which to make The Play (upper case).

That's not quite the same thing, is it.


A.C. Douglas

Oh, and to answer your Hamlet question, from the text one knows approximately the historical period in which the play is set, and knows as well that the scene in question takes place at the Danish royal court. Therefore Polonius would be dressed in garb from that period consonant with his position in and the protocols of the Danish royal court of the time.


A.C. Douglas

Oops (missing words).


"Please do not put words into my mouth, so to speak. I did NOT say, 'the script is the play in its entirety.'"

should have read:

"Please do not put words into my mouth, so to speak. I did NOT say, 'the script is the play in its entirety,' or that 'the text is the entirety of the art.'"




I recently posted a piece on my experience with directors - both great and non - I would be interested to hear your view on it.

Personally, as I stated there and on other sites - the play is the archtectually drawing of the performance and I believe the director is the general contracter who builds it.

So I think that the director would get a great costume designer who would present several options for what Polionius would wear.

A.C. Douglas


I just read your blog piece on directors, and I apologize in advance, but I simply can't resist what here follows:

Joshua wrote: "A terrible, Shit-Happens director makes you [the playwright] long for the sharp release of a razor across your own throat."

Wrong throat.


Scott Walters

Here's the irony about ACD's answer: Shakespeare wouldn't have costumed it that way. It would have been constumed in contemporary English clothes -- historical accuracy doesn't come on the scene until the 19th century.

A.C. Douglas

And this is the 21st century, and, when the text clearly suggests an historical context, be it past, present, or future, that's the context one uses -- unless, of course, one is a "concept" director.

But let's not go there.



It's simple!

First, you simply have to add up all the beats that Polonius has in his first speech. If he has any irregular lines at all, that means he is "out of sorts" and that he should be restricted to clothing that counterpoints a perturbed state of mind. In Shakespeare's day, according to Gary Wills, this means that he should wear a purple hat with a green rose in it. If he doesn't, you don't understand the text.

Beyond that, if for some reason you should find he speaks very regularly, he should wear a suit of Bran.

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