Friday, 15 August 2008

A sign of the times?

There are lots of things I feel inclined to comment about at the moment; including the great topic of British conversation: what happened to the weather? We seem to have seamlessly slipped from a wet and windy spring into a wet and windy autumn. Hang on, isn’t there supposed to be something in between? I’ve also got an iPhone 3G which I think is fantastic and I want to make some observations on it coupled with some damning comparisons with Microsoft’s offering in this area. But that can wait. And no, the phone hasn’t yet rung to say ‘you’re a grandfather’. Mind you given the weather, I can understand why the baby is staying inside as long as possible.

Curiously enough, the topic this week is that of Hamlet, that most curious of plays. Having watched the excellent Kenneth Branagh version recently I felt that it is really one of those southern European Catholic revenge dramas which has mysteriously (and not terribly convincingly) been transposed to a Protestant Denmark. Anyway, as you may or may not know depending on which part of the globe (no literary pun intended) you’re in, a new production of Hamlet has opened at Stratford starring David Tennant as dithering hero. That is of course the David Tennant, the current Doctor Who. To round things off nicely, the villain of the piece, Claudius, is played by no less than Patrick Stewart. That is, of course, the Patrick Stewart, formerly Captain Picard of Star Trek. And the reviews have been very good indeed. The reviewers have, however, all gone out of their way to remind us that both are highly trained actors and had good credentials well before they became famous in science fiction.

To be honest, I’m not quite sure what to make of this. Does it indicate that, in order to make the fantastic credible today you need to get the best possible actor or actress you can? Or does it indicate that fantasy/science fiction is now coming in out of the cold and is something that no longer blights an acting career? Frankly I rather hope it’s the latter. Indeed, I hope that Hollywood will realise one of the advantages of filming epic fantasy is that actors are prepared to fight for what is a proven career-building privilege. If they want an epic fantasy to test this theory then I suppose I can think of a trilogy that might be suitable.

Have a good week