The plot of Hamlet is so rich in domestic drama it could well be updated for a juicy TV programme in two instalments.
It wouldn’t work as a serial – all the important characters are belly-up by the time the curtain comes down. Poisoned, stabbed or killed in a fight. Even Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.
I’ve been brushing up my Shakespeare in preparation for going tonight to the Theatre on the Bay to see Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer’s acclaimed adaptation of Hamlet, based on the earliest recorded staging of the tragedy on March 31, 1608.
According to the press release (which I’m taking with a pinch of sea-salt), it was performed by the crew of the East India Company merchant ship The Red Dragon while it lay at anchor off the east coast of South Africa.
What, however, is factual, is that this play within a play has only six actors playing six Jacobean sailors, who in turn take all the roles.
Marcel Meyer is the Prince of Denmark. Michael Richard is the villainous King Claudius. Dean Balie doubles as Horatio and wise old Polonius with his immortal advice “Neither a borrower nor lender be”. Jeremy Richard is Laertes while his sister Ophelia is played by Matthew Baldwin.
Callum Tilbury is cast as Hamlet’s unfortunate mother Gertrude.
The play is the matric setwork for 2017. Knowing that the best way to study Shakespeare is to watch it performed live on stage, Fine Music Radio is calling on its listeners and others to sponsor a ticket for those pupils who might not have the means to see the production. The cost is R155 and includes a bus ride to Camps Bay and some tucker to nourish the brain cells.
I recall at Rustenburg Junior School we took a whole year to read through A Midsummer Night’s Dream, roughly one act per term. By the time we’d finished we had no idea how it started. Attending a live performance at Maynardville was an absolute eye-opener.
So if you want to bring the court of Elsinore into the heart of Cape Town’s deserving leaners go to FMR.co.za Or call 021 401 1013.
What with a pool of water around the “ship” and a looming ghost making an un-expected appearance, it sounds as though it is going to be a Hamlet like we’ve never seen before and are unlikely to for- get.
Tough to trust
This is a tale of two women. One saw a cyclist trying, without success, to pump his back tyre so he could get to his work in Meadowridge.
As she lived nearby, she offered to lend him her bike and five minutes later he’d put his bike into her garage and gratefully ridden off on hers. He said he finished work about 4pm.
“I only knew his first name and that he came from Malawi but I looked at his face and knew I could trust him.”
However, her husband thought she was mad. He was proved wrong. At 4.45 pm, her bike was back in her garage and she’d made a friend.
The other woman saw a hatted figure standing in the rain and offered “her” a lift. The passengers promptly removed the hat to reveal the face of a man. The driver kept her cool until reaching a place to pull over then asked the passenger to get out. He put his hand on the brake and demanded money. She refused. He grabbed her bag and in the ensuing tussle, the contents fell out including a R20 note. He snatched it and leapt out the car.
In the first tale the woman’s trust was not abused. In the second it was. That’s what makes it difficult for South Africans to respond to the needs of others. We want to help but do so reluctantly.
That’s not right!
Anyone around here know an importer of right hand shoes? If so I’ll put you in touch with the Tokai importer of comfort footwear from Portugal and Italy who, instead of pairs, recently received a batch of left hand shoes (sounds daft doesn’t it?). That was why he binned them causing the “bin people”, at first, great excitement and then disappointment when they found the new shoes were of no use.
The importer says it costs the factories a fortune to airfreight their products to South Africa and they usually send him one pair of samples in each style. The usual size is UK size 4, which delights his wife as they fit her like Cinderella’s slipper, so she gets first pick from the ranges.
“Unfortunately I didn’t know of anybody or organisation which would want half a pair of my samples, so reluctantly I threw them away.”
I hope the sound insulation at the new Melomed hospital situated at the corner of Keyser and Main Road Tokai, was able to reduce, if not completely block out, the incredible racket on April 7 of trucks and cars blasting their hooters in support of the human chain of protesters lining the street in front of the new private clinic. Perhaps patients nearest the Main Road were offered the ear plugs normally reserved for those in wards with people who snore.
It was very moving to be among so many Capetonians of all races, political parties and ages – from kids to grannies – making a stand to save South Africa. Whether or not it helps, remains to be seen but it felt right to be there among the crowd showing we cared, rather than remaining at home muttering.
Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavours to live at the expense of everybody else – Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850).