The doors are broke.

The play I’m working on now features a character who is afraid of doors. This is a late breaking development in the character, in the play and solved many dramaturgical problems when it made its way into the piece. It was as if the answer was always there, waiting underneath the ground, waiting to be dug up. It was the final puzzle piece that led to a satisfying ending. It showed up when one of our actors asked “Is she afraid of doors?” And the lights went on. Yes. Yes she is. That’s it. I didn’t think this had anything to do with me. It just seemed like a neat literary solution.

Then I had a session with my Rubenfeld Synergist and it came out that I felt I had two very heavy oak doors protecting a group of delicate dancers – Isadora Duncan style dancers. And I realized that I’d put Duncan herself, as well as a group of delicate dancers/priestesses into a play – probably a year before. I would have sworn up and down that Duncan had nothing to do with me – that that play wasn’t personal. Except of course it was.

And the doors…the doors. The doors in the Duncan play connected to the doors that Zerlina was afraid of in The Door Was Open.

Strange artistic overlap? Motifs? Was I subconsciously working on a theme? Then last night, I was typing up some writing I did about 6 months ago on a novel – a completely separate project in a completely different medium and I noticed myself typing, “She reacted to the door as if it were a demon.”

And damn, if I hadn’t written entirely different character who was afraid of doors. For entirely different reasons of course, in vastly different circumstances – but…if you’d asked me before all of this “Is a fear of doors a thing?”

I’d have said No. No one is afraid of doors. That’s silly. People are afraid of snakes, rats, elevators, planes, etc. But doors? Not a thing. And I certainly am not afraid of doors so these plays are not about me.

Unless we look at them metaphorically and then it might be possible that yes, indeed, some part of me MUST be afraid of doors.


What is the matter?

This coffeeshop has a series of bookshelves and on it are books. But almost none of them are books I’d want to read. I’m a fairly omnivorous reader but these books are very particular brands of self help – like: Babies with Down Syndrome: A new Parent’s Guide and Gold Rush: How to collect, invest and profit with Gold coins. It also features lots of dreamy pastel covers for what I assume is something called Angel Fiction (one is called The Eternal Rose) contrast those with the books with a dark bold font that screams macho pulp fiction. Probably several people will be shot and at least one of the main character men will have a torrid affair with a prostitute. There is also a copy Dictionary of Aquarium Terms and The Poet’s Market from 4 years ago. It feels like this is where books go to die – or just become decoration. I guess it’s good that they have somewhere to go! All this matter will not have mattered in vain.

Where are my Switzers?

It’s funny to think of Swiss fellas as being the go to guard – the mercenaries of their age (and still are for the Pope.) The Switzerland I think of is famous for neutrality – but the relationship between those things is interesting. You CAN be hired muscle if you famously don’t pick sides. Maybe the neutrality we think of now originated in that mercenary impulse. You could hire them because they were hire-able – and then that quality made them good candidates for neutrality.

O my dear Gertude, this, Like to a murdering piece, in many places Gives me superfluous death.

Extra death, excessive death, too much death, which, of course, there absolutely can be. The TV show I was watching last night had superfluous death. But any death that happens to YOU is too much. You don’t need extra death to have too much death as an individual. Death on top of death isn’t really possible. You really only need one to have too much of it.
But I suppose Claudius feels as though he’s being killed in multiple places. He’s getting the scattershot of the cannon, feeling lots of hits. But he is actually fine. That he can stand there to say this would suggest he’s doing okay.

Wherein necessity, of matter beggar’d, Will nothing stick our person to arraign In ear and ear.

O will people put some poison in one another’s ears? Is that a thing you’re worried people might do? Even if it’s metaphorical poison? This is such a curious turn of phrase, though. It’s like, built to be unclear. It’s a very convoluted idea after a series of fairly concrete images. It’s abstract. Necessity personified and going around trying people in other people’s ears due to lack of information. It’s a hard right turn in this speech. Very very interesting.

Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds, And wants not buzzers to infest his ear With pestilent speeches of his father’s death

Feeding on wonder and keeping one’s self in clouds doesn’t necessarily sound bad. It sounds rather dreamy certainly. It makes me think of Elfine in Cold Comfort Farm who periodically drifts through the woods spouting poetry. I have some sympathy for this romantic impulse for the desire to eat awe, to float, to never touch the ground.
But of course in this case, the wonder is not at the beauties and majesties of nature and the clouds are not likely the white puffy kind that angels like to play on. But it’s interesting that Claudius has chosen these words with their usually positive connotations to describe something that he definitely does not think is good. The sentence has a rather beautiful quality of starting in this light, airy place and slowly descending through buzzers to infect to pestilent and ending on death.

Last, and as much containing as all these, Her brother is in secret come from France;

This means that Claudius received this information before he walked in to this scene and is therefore not just responding to Ophelia but to the possibility that Laertes will show up and see it – or show up and depose him – or just generally make trouble. It’s a lot to hold in the background – to watch a woman go mad, all the while knowing her brother is not far away, volatile and ready to explode. I guess I have timeline questions, though. Because did Laertes start heading from France as soon as he heard about his father’s death or before? How long has this plan been in progress?
And how long did it take to get from France to Denmark back in the day? I’m guessing that’s not a SHORT journey. And so if he came the second he heard about his father and then traveled … we’re actually talking about a fairly serious gap in time. Is it a week since the arras? I guess that’s enough time for an Ophelia to go crazy.

Poor Ophelia Divided from herself and her fair judgment, Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts:

He starts off kindly enough with this thought.

Yes, Ophelia is divided from herself and her judgment. She is disassociative and outside her own norm.
But then he kicks her while she’s down – calling her a picture and a beast. Not directly, of course – but he first says she’s divided from her judgment and adds that people without judgment are pictures or animals. Ipso facto and so on.
Pictures is funny, though. We are pictures without judgment? Pictures?! Pictures are an awfully static analogy for a person without their judgment.
A person without judgment may be many things – but still as a picture is not one of them. A beast, I can see. That analogy makes sense. Maybe what that last sentence is about is Claudius choosing the better analogy. And he settles on the same one Hamlet found for man if his chief nature be but to sleep and feed.

And we have done but greenly, In hugger-mugger to inter him;

Claudius? Is that you? Admitting to a mistake?
You’re clearly not a contemporary politician, that’s for sure. Of course, the mistake was to bury a man in secret and he calls it green, not wrong. That is, it might suggest that there’s a way to bury a man in secret with more practice and experience.
Meanwhile, I love greenly as a descriptor of behavior. If we could get all of us to use adverbs again more frequently – I vote for more of this one.
Also, hugger-mugger is a glorious word that I would like dis-interred.