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Three Fridays, September 14, 21, 28, 6-8 p.m.
Hamlet, preferably the Folger Shakespeare Library
This is no required advance reading.
$75 ($65 members)
Hamlet is probably the greatest play ever written, and this “courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s” role is the greatest part ever played.
Oscar Wilde said of Shakespeare’s most questioning character: “Hamlet came out of his soul.” Wilde also claimed: “There is no such thing as Shakespeare’s Hamlet. If Hamlet has something of the definiteness of a work of art, he has also all the obscurity that belongs to life. There are as many Hamlets as there are melancholies.” Hamlet is as varied a character as the many actors who have tried to embody him. Derek Jacobi played Hamlet 379 times, second only to John Gielgud’s total. Gielgud directed Richard Burton in the part; the one time Jacobi directed a play was with a young Ken Branagh in the role. Our three sessions will examine the text of this dramatic classic.
This course will coincide with the production of Hamlet from Shakespeare’s Globe in London at the Folger Shakespeare Library on Capitol Hill, September 8-22, 2012. Hamlet will actually be played by an actor who got his BA at Georgetown, Michael Benz. Experiencing this Globe Hamlet at the Folger Theatre is an option for participants but is not required or included in this course.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Christopher Griffin was in a production of Hamlet at University College Dublin in 1971 and had one line. Since then, he has seen various productions of Shakespeare’s greatest play in four different countries, with such actors as Ian McKellan, Frank Grimes, Tom Hulce, Roger Rees, Kenneth Branagh, Paul Gross, Holly Twyford, and Graham Hamilton. He has taught classes at Politics & Prose for 20 years on topics including Irish drama, Ulysses, film, Shakespeare, Yeats, Shaw, Kavanagh, Heaney, and Literary Washington.