We’ll have a speech tonight.

Is it Hamlet’s fault that actors have to audition with speeches now? Here is a precedent for bringing an actor in a room and saying, “Okay, talk by yourself for a long time!”

I hate monologues. I hate them as a director, as an actor and as a producer. Watching someone present a long speech in a small room with no real audience to speak of has never told me anything I really need to know about a performer. As a performer, the monologue is nothing like anything else I do on stage – even giving monologues. A speech for speech’s sake is an absurdity in a world where people say things for a reason.

That said, the speeches in this play, the one that Hamlet is about to speak and the one that the First Player continues, are maybe some of my favorite bits of language. It’s got stuff like “Coagulate gore” and “Who, ah, woe, had seen the mobléd queen” which I’m guessing is all an homage to Homer who, now that I think about it, is probably the real originator of one guy standing up and saying long speeches in the Western canon.


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