[Congress], I need not remind you, is a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order, and of liberty; and it is here – it is here, in this exalted refuge – here, if anywhere, will resistance be made to the storms of political frenzy, and the silent arts of corruption; and if the constitution be destined ever to perish by the sacrilegious hands of the demagogue, or the usurper, which God avert, its expiring agonies will be witnessed on this floor.
Aaron Burr’s Farewell Address To The Senate, 1805
I’m not going to tune in to watch tonight’s expiring agonies.
Baby It’s Cold Outside discourse is the same as Macbeth discourse.
OK, so one of the big debates in Macbeth involves the scene in which Lady Macbeth talks Macbeth into killing King Duncan. People debate strenuously over whether it’s a scene of Lady M pressuring her reluctant husband into it, or whether it’s a scene of her sensing, due to their emotional intimacy, that this murder is something her husband secretly wants and has partially internally decided to do, and is arguing him into it in order to help him give himself permission to do it, in the same way that people see their loved ones wavering over the dessert menu and jump in with things like, “Go on, get the cheesecake, it’s your birthday!” Readers and scholars disagree strenuously about this – we even studied an incident in college in which two 18th century illustrators attended the same performance and happened to draw the scene the day after, producing two images that advanced opposite interpretations even though they’d seen the exact same actors do the exact same performance. It’s a big deal.
In the same way, the Baby, It’s Cold Outside discourse is about whether this is a song about sexual harassment, or whether it’s a woman singing about how she wishes she could spend the night with the guy she just had an excellent date with if only the neighbors wouldn’t talk, and him responding, “Stay, baby, it’s cold out! No one could expect you to go home in this!”
I really don’t know (baby stab his side) King Duncan’s a bro (baby cut through his hide)
I like him a lot (That decrepit old sot?) This plan ain’t so great (But what a king you’d make!)
The guards might worry (Darling, do it in a hurry!) His sons will rush the door (So knock them on the floor.)
I’m not such a knave (Bash his head with a stave) But I’d be a good king (Now you’re starting to think)
The dukes might all talk (But their chatter means naught) Say, love, what do you mean (You’d make such a king)
I simply must go (baby cut through his hide) There’s a war on you know (baby cut through his hide)
But what of his wife? (And what of his life?) It feels like bad luck (But that don’t mean much)
I’ve got a bad premonition (And I’ve got a mission) But that’s just superstition (My love, you’re a vision)
The witches said I’d rule (If they lied they were cruel) So baby let’s stab Stab his siiiiide!
I don’t care who the Academy gives it to, this is my Best Actor award winner.
I haven’t written about Hashtag Hamlet publicly in a while, mainly because there’s not a lot to write about. Development can be like that – we’re exploring a lot of different potential paths forward, talking with a lot of different potential funders and distributors to find the right partners who will make this happen on the level and scale that we want.
One part of those conversations is always some variation on the question, “if you could get anybody you wanted to play Hamlet, who would it be.”
And my answer is usually Michael B. Jordan.
Because, I mean, look at this guy. Torn up inside, not knowing what he should do next, but knowing he has to do something.
There’s a famous story about Franco Zeffirelli going to see Lethal Weapon, and when he gets to the scene where Riggs puts the gun in his mouth but can’t pull the trigger, he said to himself, “THAT’S Hamlet.”
I had a similar moment when I saw Fruitvale Station. And I saw it again in Creed, in scenes like above. Michael B. Jordan has an amazing ability to convey active indecision, the physicalize an internal conflict between lashing out at the things in his way no matter the cost and holding himself back because it’s the smarter play even though it means swallowing his pride.
You know, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles.
Michael B. Jordan is now an A-list movie star, so the odds of him agreeing to do my weird internet show are practically nonexistent. But the larger point is that the requirement to play Hamlet should be the ability to PLAY THE ROLE. Not skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or anything else.
And if you think that a woman can’t play Hamlet, then you’ve haven’t seen the LA Women’s Shakespeare Company play Shakespeare the way it was meant to be played.
The other name I’d usually give when asked if I could get anybody to play Hamlet?
Make that ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE DANIEL KALUUYA.
Y’know, when I would say that name in those meetings, the response was usually, “Who?” Not anymore.
I was watching Empire Strikes Back and I never noticed this before, but in the scene where Leia briefs the pilots on Hoth? You can see Han in the background, working on the Falcon
Leia begins the briefing and he’s still welding in the background
but the Hobbie asks about two fighters against a star destroyers and Leia turns to talk to him
meaning she’s now facing the Falcon
and when we cut back to the wider shot…
look who suddenly found something better to do, and is in fact not even pretending to work anymore, he’s literally just standing there
(it’s almost like he perked up when Hobbie questioned Leia’s plan like he wanted to see how she’d respond to it aka reminder that Leia’s “calm facade concealed an impressive temper” and Han “enjoyed watching it in action” and how the hell did he even notice this with the noise and the sparks from the welder, eh Han? Eh?)
anyway as soon as it’s clear that she’s turned away again, it’s back to the welding
… at least until the commander guy yells “okay, everybody to your stations!” and Leia turns to go
at which point he’s back to just standing there, although this time he remembered to at least pretend to be engrossed in work
so basically Han Solo notices when Leia Organa turns towards him halfway across the hangar, stops what he’s doing to watch her give orders when she turns so he can see her, then hurriedly goes back to pretending to work once he realises what he’s doing
So, it doesn’t matter how much we love a thing – if we think what we’re doing is meaningless, if we think what we’re doing is being taken apart in front of us – we will stop doing it, no matter the money being offered.
New from No Mimes Media, a modern re-imagining of Frankenstein as a “digital narrative paired with hands-on activities happening in January and February at museums and science centers across the United States.” Featuring the wonderful Rose Abdoo (Gypsy from Gilmore Girls!) as Dr. Tori Frankenstein.