Hyperion to a Satyr: Hamlet Act I, Scene 2 – Ghost Stories

Hyperion to a Satyr - The Fire and Water Podcast Network's Hamlet Podcast - continues Siskoid's scene-by-scene deep dive into Shakespeare's masterwork, discussing the text, but also performance and staging through the lens of several films, television, comics and even a rock opera. In Part 3 of Act I, Scene 2, we look at the end of the scene, from Horatio's entrance through Hamlet's small closing speech after he learns that his father's ghost walks the ramparts of Elsinore.

Listen to the episode below or subscribe to Hyperion to a Satyr on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!

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Theme: "Fanfare" from 1996 Hamlet, by Patrick Doyle, with clips from that film, starring Ray Fearon; the 1980 Hamlet, starring Derek Jacobi; and the 2009 Hamlet, starring David Tennant.

Bonus clips: Hamlet 1996 by Kenneth Branagh, starring Kenneth Branagh; Hamlet 1948 by Laurence Olivier, starring Laurence Olivier, Anthony Quayle, Esmond Knight and Norman Wooland; Hamlet 1980 by Rodney Bennett, starring Robert Swann and Derek Jacobi; Hamlet 1990 by Franco Zeffirelli, starring Stephen Dillane and Mel Gibson; Hamlet 2009 by Gregory Doran, starring Peter De Jersey; and "Le Spectre du Roi" by Johnny Hallyday.

Leave a comment, I love to read!

6 responses to “Hyperion to a Satyr: Hamlet Act I, Scene 2 – Ghost Stories

  1. Siskoid, this is a lot more work than listening to you talk about Marvel Two-In-One. Furthermore, I doubt any staging you’re referencing uses the line, “‘Milady, ’tis the clobbering hour.”

    That said, I am learning a lot. I don’t have a great background in Hamlet. I read the play in school and watched a live performance on a field trip. We had a terrifically good English teacher. She was also our French teacher, which in retrospect, was very Canadian of her. Nevertheless, I don’t think that, at 17, I got ten percent out of that play of what I was supposed to get. Now, I am listening to you talk about the myriads of themes and metaphors Shakespeare as author put into this play — or alternately, a director can draw out of this play, whether the author thought of them or not. I am flabbergasted. It’s no wonder this is such a passion project for you. At first, as I listened, I was surprised at how many scenes and lines people would cut in staging. Now, I think I understand that the director has to pick and choose what he’s going to communicate with each scene. You can’t keep every line or every possible line reading any more than you can go into a Greek diner and order everything on the novella-sized menu. So Hamlet, like Batman, is endlessly malleable.

    Is the lesson that it’s amazing what a storyteller can do when he starts with family trauma? Probably not. That seems too small. I guess I’ll have to keep listening.

    1. Haha yes, that’s a very limited part of it. Thanks for listening, I know it can be very dense (which is why I’ve cut things up like I did, which may or may not be easier to follow).

      I think you CAN offer an integral version of the play (Brannagh proved that), but it means it’s going to be extra long. On stage especially. The ancillary characters only really live with the full text, in my opinion, but the focus may be somewhere else.

  2. Siskoid, thank you for putting this show together. I’ve been looking forward to it, since you teased it during Stella’s Dear Reader show.

    I enjoy Shakespeare, but admit that I struggle with the prose. I count myself lucky when I can follow the basic plot and identify all of the characters. Unfortunately, the subtle wordplay and deeper symbolism of the text is often lost on me. As a result, I’m enjoying learning about all of that in this show.

    I have seen three of the film versions of Hamlet that you are covering: Brannagh’s, Gibson’s, and Tennant’s. Of the three, I probably prefer Brannagh’s version, but I’m a sucker for any of his Shakespeare productions. (Brannagh’s Henry V is in my top 10 list of favorite movies). I have not seen Derek Jacobi’s rendition of Hamlet, but, as a fan of his, I now feel the need to track it down. All that to say that I really like the comparisons you make between the different adaptations.

    Thanks again. I’m looking forward to the next scene.

  3. This is a great show with so much detail and passion put into it, you can’t help but be swept up.

    I have read the play many times and seen many of the incarnations you reference. But I haven’t boiled it down to things like ‘where is Hamlet sitting when this scene starts and how does that impact the dialogue’. Incredible.

    I am thoroughly impressed. I don’t know how often I’ll comment (because they will most like be variants of ‘this is awesome’) but know that I’m listening!

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