There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance;

Most productions I’ve seen, including the one I did, use something other than rosemary, pansies, fennel, columbines, daisies and rue to be these plants. It’s easier to, say, collect a bouquet of sticks, which is what we did in the show I was in, than to collect a bunch of prop plants. But it changes Ophelia’s madness a bit to have her completely mis-identify things. She’s mixing up people, sure. She’s singing at inappropriate times – but her madness doesn’t seem like the kind where you misidentify objects. That’s a pretty specialized madness.
She could be pretending, like a child, proposing a symbolic game. She could see asking the group to play with her in thinking of air or a stick as Rosemary but…it’s almost too advanced in her thinking at this point.
It feels more transgressive actually for her to have made her way to some kitchen garden and picked all these flowers. I imagine her trodding through the palace kitchen garden, collecting flowers and herbs while the royal cook’s assistant tries desperately to stop her. Maybe the whole kitchen staff chases after her through the herb beds and flowers.
It also makes sense that these are actual flowers and herbs because of her death. She doesn’t die strewn with sticks – No. She drowns covered in flowers, ones we presume she’s picked on her journey to the brook. And, in a moment of dark desperation, it does make sense that she would be drawn to the beauty of flowers, to collect them to make herself feel better.

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