Dost thou come here to whine?

Most people do not go to funerals to whine, it must be said. Laertes has come to Ophelia’s grave to mourn her loss, the way everyone does at a funeral. He has taken it to an extreme, of course, by leaping into her grave but whining is not his motivation and surely Hamlet knows that.

Has Hamlet been so blinded by his own grief that he has lost his own intelligence? The news of Ophelia’s death does seem to have come as a bit of a shock and I suppose Hamlet has had a rough patch but his temper seems outsized here. I feel like I’ve never seen a Hamlet who has a dangerous temper. Because you want someone who can sensitively handle all the intellectual stuff, the thoughtful soliloquies, etc, most people tend not to cast actors who have explosive rage. (Not to mention that actors with actual explosive rage are not fun to work with.)

But I suddenly would love to see a Hamlet with a real well of dangerous fury in him. I bet Gary Sinise could have been a really interesting Hamlet back in the day. Did they ever do that over at Steppenwolf? Or with John Malkovich? That would also have been fascinating. I’d be very interested in a performer who could be thoughtful and sensitive and warm and then quickly ignite.

I’m thinking now of Mark Maron and how he talks about his rage issues. Most of the time, on his podcast, we hear him in thoughtful, considered mode – but it’s clear that if a flip switches, he can rage. It’s too bad he’s not so keen on Shakespeare and maybe a bit too old for the part, because he’d be a really interesting Hamlet.

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