>What a Piece of Work is Man!

>I have of late–but
wherefore I know not–lost all my mirth, forgone all
custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily
with my disposition that this goodly frame, the
earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most
excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave
o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted
with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how
express and admirable! in action how like an angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals!

I had the great pleasure this evening to see a fine production of Hamlet at Staunton’s own American Shakespeare Center, formerly known as Shenandoah Shakespeare. It is a brilliant play, of course, and I’ve seen it many times before. But different stagings and different performances are likely to emphasize different facets of the work. Tonight, because the actor playing Polonius (John Harrell) is a great comic (he’s been in the company for a couple of years now and I’ve seen him in many hilarious parts), the humor in that role shone. I knew Polonius was a buffoon, but didn’t remember it quite that way. And Hamlet (Khris Lewin) was done superbly, with the prince’s madness flawlessly woven into his character. Once again, a terrific experience at the Blackfriars Playhouse.

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  1. >It was. I am. The repertory company is currently doing Hamlet (the last time they did Hamlet, four years ago, they also did Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which will always be my favorite Stoppard play), All’s Well That Ends Well, Comedy of Errors and, I suppose to get the most use out of the swords they bought for Hamlet, The Three Musketeers.

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