This quarry cries on havoc.

Uh – Fortinbras? This is a super weird thing to say.

Is it a cultural thing? Is Fortinbras talking this way because he’s Norweigan?

Did the Norweigans have the same reputation they do now for being unusually blunt talkers?

I mean – quarry implies the spoils of a hunt – that is, dead animals, prey who have been slaughtered. There may even be a sense of entrails exposed and just a general sense of dehumanized bodies. The spoils of a hunt.

Which is just a pretty intense way to refer to a scene of people who have all just murdered each other.

Havoc is chaos, for sure. And etymology online suggests that Havoc comes from the phrase “Cry Havoc!” which was the signal to troops to start pillaging and very probably raping, as well.
So…sure – the spoils of the hunt are the ones crying havoc. I’m curious about why they are calling ON havoc. Is it the non-native English speaker’s usual confusion around prepositions? Or is that these slaughtered animals are crying on TOP of havoc? That there are layers of slaughter on top of chaos?

Or maybe the “cries on” suggests a goading. The animals encourage further chaos. I feel like this is the interpretation that I would find most playable if I had to play Fortinbras. This grisly scene pushes us toward further confusion. But…still – quarry is such a weird word to use in this moment.

Where is this sight?

Ok – who tipped Fortinbras off? How did word get out to this war-noise making folk so very quickly? Did someone rush out when shit started to hit the fan, as it were? Or are there people stationed at the door who heard it all and maybe recommended that you not go in there if you know what’s good for you because there sure is a lot of murdering and dying inside there.

In a contemporary production, the kind wherein they just can’t resist including cell phones because they can’t imagine a world without them, Osric would definitely be texting with the English ambassador the whole time.

Go softly on.

My English theatre friend was a little embarrassed by the filmmaker’s brassy enthusiasm for her work. She and her theatre colleagues felt a little uncomfortable about the filmmaker’s puffing up.

This is why I love theatremakers in the UK. These three are not alone in their quiet, gentle, modest creation of their work. They are not in the habit of self promotion. They speak quietly. This feels like the theatre way to them. This is not the case in my native land.

Where I come from, most theatre folk are brassy and loud and very much in the habit of puffing up both themselves and others. To my eye, this filmmaker was doing what I’ve seen nearly every American theatre maker do at some point or another. For me, it was normal. Not MY way…but still, normal. But could I be the odd ball in the theatre? In a way, this filmmaker was the odd one in the bunch by being brassy and loud. I can be the odd ball by being soft and go softly on.

If that his majesty would aught with us, We shall express our duty in his eye.

Is their duty, their sperm?
I mean..there’s kind of a shooting off quality to this language.
It could be some other kind of threat, of course. They could be threatening a punch in the eye or a spit in the eye.
It could, of course, not be a threat at all. But aught is rather vague…
If the king would aught… is like… if the king starts something…and in one case, doing something in his eye is just doing it in his view..but I’m skeptical. The language feels a little too punchy for that.

You know the rendezvous.

If you’d asked me before, I’d have said, “No, Rendezvous does not appear in Shakespeare. It is clearly a very modern word.”
And I would have been very very wrong obviously.
Despite knowing this play pretty well – having read it multiple times, heard it many more – it still didn’t register that “rendezvous” is used in such a quotidian manner. When did this word become common parlance in English? Have English speakers been rendezvousing for centuries even further back than Shakespeare’s?

Tell him that by his license Fortinbras Craves the conveyance of a promised march Over his kingdom.

Craving conveyance over the seas to this, my beloved London. Today it occurred to me that I might be able to negotiate the incredibly difficult immigration laws that I was previously unable to overcome. If I can find a conveyance…my heart might just heal several old wounds.

I will happily march through all of this kingdom that my ancestors fled all those many years ago. They got themselves on the Mayflower and made their way away…I seek my own sort of Mayflower but going in the other direction.

Go, captain, from me greet the Danish King.

Well, hello Fortinbras! This is pretty late in the play for us to meet you, isn’t it? I mean. This is ACT IV, scene iv! It’s a long time to wait for the appearance of such an important guy. And then you’re out almost as soon as you come in – presumably so we can just see your face and recognize you when you come back at the end to go, “Uh – what HAPPENED here?”

It’s not quite a Star Part as Orson Welles described. People aren’t talking about Fortinbras ALL the time in this play but they do talk about him a BIT before he shows up. If I were directing a production, I might introduce some images of him at the start so it’s even more like a celebrity sighting when he shows up. Oh! Fortinbras! There’s Fortinbras!