Act Three today. As I have mentioned I have no lines in this section, but I do have quite a bit to do. More in fact than in Act One, really.
It takes place on the ship that is carrying Hamlet to England. I spend the first 10 or 15 minutes of the act hidden behind a large beach umbrella. (It's in the script, really.) Though whether or not I will actually be sitting on stage behind the umbrella the entire time, or if I will simply enter behind the umbrella once it is time to be seen is yet unknown.
Then there is the famous switching of letters, which is talked about in "Hamlet". Then the pirates invade and all hell breaks loose.
Due to the nature of our blocking and the stage on which we will be performing, it was decided that I, as Hamlet, would be in the best position to first notice the approach of the pirates. So , "Pirates!" will be basically the only thing I will clearly say that is not an actual Hamlet line from Shakespeare. This followed by my rushing for a sword, and a bit of a keystone cops bit of everyone on the stage running into each other, back and forth and to and fro a few times. Then I am to leap into a barrel or crate or something of the kind. (Not yet determined.) In the dark, I will leave stage for nearly the remainder of the play. I do make one more appearance, as a dead Hamlet in the final few moments, when we recreate the final moments of the actual "Hamlet". (Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes and Hamlet all lying dead.)
I am not certain why this is in the play, to be honest. I think the entire piece would end on a much stronger note if the last thing we heard were the incomplete line uttered by Guildenstern before he vanishes totally into the ether. I suppose the scene is there because the line "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead" is uttered at this point. But that by itself doesn't seem to carry enough weight to include that tableau in my opinion. If the whole point of the play is absurdist nihilism, why not end the whole play in the middle of a sentence, followed by totally blackness?
At any rate, I am getting a better sense of the character, and it will be fun to give consistent life to Hamlet during a scene in which he does not appear in the original material. (How does one portray the famous Prince as he is reading in silence in a deck chair? It is my job to determine that.)
It seems that after much shuffling we have now filled all five of the silent player roles, though one was filled this very day via telephone call and plea. This will make those scenes much easier to understand, obviously.
Also, a friend of mine came by today. It looks like she will be doing costumes for the show. I don't have any idea what she has in mind, but I did talk to her briefly about how I was playing Hamlet, so I imagine that will inform her decisions somewhat.
Tomorrow I am off, because it is set building day. I look forward to Monday's rehearsal with a full set. Especially since a ramp figures prominently in much of my blocking, and the sooner I have one to work on, the better.