Tomorrow the entire cast of Hamlet meets for the first time for a red though, a little discussion, and then the start of a journey scene by scene where we will explore in depth all of the words, relationships, and events of the play.
Tonight, however, I got to get to know my Horatio, Ro Boddie. We sat, the two of us, with our director, John Langs and stage manager, Ev Matten aand discussed the trajectory of the relationship of Hamlet and Horatio. Then, Ro and I went off for a little adventure to explore the countryside and get to know one another a bit more.
The relationship between Hamlet & Horatio is exceptional in that it is the one close relationship Hamlet has in the play where there is no question of truth, honesty, or loyalty between one another. It begins with a hint at a shared history and knowledge of one another. Horatio is respectful of Hamlet and speaks to his status, which Hamlet quickly corrects by insisting they call one another “good friend.” Later, Hamlet will confess nearly everything to Horatio: a father’s message from beyond the grave, a subtext to the presentation of a play, the murder of classmates, an embracing of oblivion, and finally a request to tell his tale. Horatio maintains his loyalty to his friend, willing to leap into death along side Hamlet if need be. There is something profound between them. We think there might be something to this relationship intensifying and becoming more dear as the play progresses. John says there will be many machines through which Hamlet will be processed throughout the play. This relationship being one. I can’t wait to see how this grows.
Ro and I left our talk excited and chomping at the bit to get to work. I swung by my home to get my dog and the three of us took a ride out toward Plain, WI (just north of Spring Green). There’s an old chapel at the top of a hill in the woods behind the old convent there. Ro, being new to the area, did not know about it and since I am a constant explorer, I thought it’d be a fun thing to hike up there in the evening light and get to know one another. We talked about the things guys talk about. Work, women, and wilder days. There is something so important to knowing and trusting your fellow actors when working on something as powerful and intimate as Hamlet. It’s of tremendous comfort to me to know that Ro is not only an insightful and easy going guy, but that he is game and eager to work. I think we will be a great team.
Tomorrow I have to read the role of Hamlet in front of all my peers and my employers… it’s good to know I’ll have a friend there and that we’ve got each other’s backs.