There seems to be such genuine affection for the Players in these lines. This is not the formal welcome – it is full of knowledge of the company. This one, for example, who Hamlet is glad to see well. Another whose facial hair has changed. He knows these people and seems so genuinely glad to see them. There’s an atmosphere of familiarity that is absent in many of Hamlet’s interactions with others.
And truly, actors can be very familiar. They’re often too familiar. There’s something about the intimacy of a theatrical company that leads to blurring of boundaries, the relaxing of niceties and formalities and just generally creating an atmosphere of permissiveness. It is one of the great joys, as well as one of the great frustrations of being a part of a company of actors.
And one need not join the company to get a whiff of that heady familiar intimacy. Come to the opening night party, go drinking after the show, sit in on a rehearsal you will likely find yourself swept up in the whirlpool of familiarity.