The stories that inspire us -‘Hamlet’

The stories we read, see and hear sometimes leave a lasting effect on our lives. Stories inspire us to be who we are. They shape our own journey and can take the mind anywhere. There are some stories that effect us so much, they even shape our future…

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Shakespeare, the original story teller. The true architect of language and narrative. You’ll find his influence near enough everywhere when it comes to the written and spoken word; sometimes you won’t even know you are using a phrase that he originally influenced. His works these days have even extended to cinema and television. 

Many of us came across the Bard’s work during our school years. Too many walk away from those lessons thinking his work is boring and almost inaudible to follow. That’s a tragedy in its own right and probably down to a lack of teaching execution. Although I don’t blame teachers not being an effective vessel to explain Shakespeare, like all art it’s  an acquired taste and also subjective.

For me Hamlet is the true epitome of story telling. It has almost everything a good story should have. Love, life and death with near enough all the elements that make a good story just that. Betrayal, deception and triumph; enveloped by that word ‘tragedy’.  They never taught me about Hamlet at school. I remember ‘Macbeth’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ but the Prince of Denmark and his laments I didn’t find out until I was cast as him in the play.

When you take on a work for the stage, be that by any writer you take a part of them and perform it as your own. You also sometimes; not all the time, become engrossed into their story and by becoming a character you only truly appreciate the weight of a story and it’s true power.

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Death is all around Hamlet, the character and the story. His ever so famous ‘to be or not to be’ monologue is about the contemplation of such and as the story unfolds death slowly reaches over near enough all involved. He urges love interest ‘Ophelia’ to get away which becomes an unintentional shun leading to the shuffling of her mortal coil. ‘Claudius’ plays the typical step father figure that is cliche even to this day – he did have a hand in killing his brother who happens to be Hamlet’s father the King; sound familiar yet Simba?

The only significant survivor by the close of play – spoiler alert; although you’ve had hundreds of years –  is ‘Horatio’ who utters those ever so famous words but before then we see a deceptive plot to poison Hamlet which goes ‘badly’ for Shakespeare’s standards along with a memorable duel. As I said it has everything and as our language continually evolves further and further away from that used in this classic tale, it’s so important we remember and honour it.

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For those looking to improve their craft on stage nothing will do it better than the words of William Shakespeare. From modulation and dictation all the way to understanding of how a basic story is put together and all the way to being able to learn lines – if you’ve learned and nailed Shakespeare on stage, everything and I say everything you do after will be noticeably easier. Great stories of tragedy or even triumph never fade and well I suppose the rest is silence….

Do you have a favourite Shakespeare work? 

Weekly Ramble #57

Seeing your own writing come to life and put onto a stage in front of an audience is something I am still getting used to. It’s an incredible and rewarding feeling. As writers, bloggers and creators many of us don’t ever get instant applaud for our work. Books can take years to ever gain any type of gratification so most of you can imagine when an audience member approaches me and say’s that I did a good job, it’s probably the pinnacle of being a story teller. And I wont lie, even after the past weekend which now seems a lifetime away; I’m still rather high from it all and perhaps I should be. 

The truth is I am damn proud of the stories I have created but the plays, they are truly special because they are made by the performances and the production. My writing is a mere first step, or even a suggestion of an idea; the rest is in the hands of everyone else. Those performers and everyone else involved should be proud, not only because they have brought a fantastic show into this world but because there aren’t many good  moments in this life to be proud of. Life can be bitter sometimes and it can bite you hard and bring you down. You must find things to be proud of to cast light over the shadows of hardship and that’s up to you. Taking pride in one’s work is probably more important than any other type of praise or reviews; the fact that you did it and it made a difference; a positive difference in your life is all that matters when it comes to story telling.

Be proud, all of you!

Into the Woods : Wicked : My musical weekend

From the very beginning many of us knew that this year was gonna be all about movies, considering I have pretty much one sentence to report on all things trying to get published I will do that now.

I have sent my manuscript out to agents again and now I’m editing my second book again.

Now that’s done lets get to it but wait, didn’t I say that this week’s offering would resume on a Tuesday? I lied, the world is full of liars including me.

My musical weekend began on Friday…….

Friday : Into the woods

After walking into the foyer of my local empire cinema I could see that we may have trouble finding 7 seats for the group I was with. It was opening night after all and the last time I saw this cinema that packed was when Les Miserables came out. Just like that experience we were forced to sit near the front.

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So to the film, well here we see a rather stellar cast, I am talking Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, James Corden (Peeps from US will soon know who he is) Johnny Depp ( more of a cameo from him) Emily Blunt, Chris Pine who played the rugged yet charming prince charming and many more. It seemed that nearly every character big or small was a face I had seen before. This gave me much faith in what Disney had to offer.

We were introduced by the way of song to the many central characters and the sort of modified fairy tales in which they belonged. Jack and the beanstalk, Little red riding hood and Cinderella were amongst them.

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Meryl Streep and James Corden carried this film which saw him on a scavenger hunt into the woods. I wont give that much away as I feel it is worth watching but to me the final quarter of the film did lack a certain level of story and plot. Which is a shame because the cast all pull together and almost make this an anti Disney film with cliché at every turn. My favourite line of the film came from prince charming “I was raised to be charming not sincere” and he did turn out to be quite the sleaze bag. Seeing him and another prince singing a duet on a waterfall and trying to out prince each other was fun to watch.

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I lol’d at this guy

 

Go see it and tell me your thoughts.

If your still here this is part two of my musical weekend and that was to take my better half into central London to the very art deco Victoria Apollo theatre.

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Saturday : Wicked

As you take your seat there is already a visual spectacle  to take in. The safety curtain is a map of OZ with emerald city glowing in the centre. Around the stage is various ladders, walkways and cogs of the machine that makes Wicked turn. High above a dragon facing the spectators who were ready and restless on this busy Saturday afternoon.   (This dragon did move from time to time)

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Here we see the story of Elphalba (the wicked witch of the west) and how she came to meet herfate.  Again I won’t give anything away and just tell you this show was somewhat awesome.  Many people think that musicals are not for me (maybe because I am so manly, tough exterior etc.) but this show was great. The act 1 close of defying gravity did exactly that and really expressed the powerful vocal skills of the performers. Flying monkeys, munchkins and brilliant stage visuals gave the whole show had a magical element. I would strongly recommend you see it. We were sat in the dress circle looking down on the stage, but where ever you sit is a good view in the Apollo.

 

Final thought 

Some of you may know that for five years I have pursued a career in amateur drama. Having been a member of the Iver Heath Drama Club for that time I can happily announce that I will be the lead in their next show. This January I will be putting the tights on to be Robin Hood, the worlds most famous outlaw! Come and see me, tickets are available to purchase online for a reasonable rate, just click here.

Show your support for a good thing in the community!

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