part of me was actually mentally egging whishaw on to get it over with and just squeeze that overdue tear out. seconds later, the pond FINALLY spilled over and the flood gates were opened. lots of hair was touched fleetingly. snot wiped away. face rubbed. fingers played with. IT WAS BRILLIANT! — chances are, i am a sadist. but at the same time my imaginary hat is off to anyone who manages to talk himself into such an emotional turmoil voluntarily. as i said: you have to be a masochist.oh christ. tears in my eyes just reading about it. i just bought a copy of the play online so i can recreate it in my head.
oh man. either that or just be really committed to living truthfully in your art. and he knows how to fucking do that. i doubt he comes off as affected every time—there is only so much you can do to your body in a week—but i’m pretty sure he opens himself up for that moment of truth (and by ‘moment’ i mean 2hrs of play time) as much as he is able every performance, because that’s how you know you are alive. if it’s not about connecting to the truth of the moment with the other actors and the audience there with you, then why are you doing it?
and honestly, (speaking from my own experience) it’s easier to have at least some emotion backing a performance like that than it is calling it up out of nowhere, but yeah.
acting is hard work, yo.
so glad they gave the work to someone willing and able to do it so well.
if you can say one thing about the pixieboymanchild then it is his complete lack of affectation. i guess that’s why any part he plays rings so true. that is why years later he is still being applauded for being the youngest hamlet of the west end to date (rather than burry it as a perfomance of an overhyped, sprung-up young’un).
and you could also see the commitment afterwards at the stage door. this little, twiggy kid was completely knackered, with the shadows under his eyes reaching all the way down to his armpits and speaking in a little, depleated voice. remember, this was wednesday as in “those godaweful double performances”. by comparison, judi dench looked also tired, but fit as a fiddle and she’s close to three times his age! (even though her part is pulling at your heart too, she still hasn’t got half as much as a shitty time in that play as alice liddell than whishaw in the peter davies role.) still, he stuck around and played the game gracefully, signing myriads of playbills and having his mug taken with a hoard of fans. (side note: if i were a stage actor, i’d insure my eyes against retinal damage from repeated exposure to close-up flashlights.)
it was the same with jude law some three years ago when he played hamlet right next door. he was just as worn down (though probably still about twice whishaw’s slight built) and looked close to haggard, but he took about half an hour to sign hundreds of peoples playbills and nearly was trampled to death after the show by a frenzied mob of teenage girls and professional autograph traders. it was insane! but he too pulled his emotional costume out through his navel with seeming ease. i know money can be an incentive, but you really have to mean it to allow yourself to go to pieces in public for an extended period of time AND be harassed by the audience. otherwise they wouldn’t be commited stage actors at the west end, but a lay crew on the boards of the local theatre in twickham-upon-tyne.