CHÂTEAU DE CHILLON
On a beautiful, rain free evening, we watched this performance, in the knowledge that we would be entertained by the remarkable acting talent of the young cast in the Château’s courtyard, but overwhelmed with the question, what message this play sends. Hamlet is a complex character. He comes across as being self-obsessed about death, suicide, sex, religion and the afterlife. That’s not surprising, for there is a great deal of turbulence, and in the end, there are only two characters left standing, the rest either stabbed, drowned, poisoned, or strangled. Not everyone’s choice for an evening’s entertainment.
For those who studied this play at school, here is an aide-memoire.
Did Hamlet actually hear the ghost of his father speak, or might it have been an hallucination? It is only he that hears his father though others see the apparition. Has Hamlet really gone mad, or is he pretending? – Why is he so unhappy? – is it the murder of his father, the incestuous marriage of his mother; his failure to become king; his inability to take revenge for the murder of his father; his uncertain feelings for Ophelia, or his inability to work out what to believe?
For pub quiz enthusiasts, the part of Hamlet has more lines than any other Shakespeare character so it is not surprising that there is so much about him to discuss. However, I was pleased to become reacquainted with Hamlet’s friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The actors who played these parts did so with humour, energy, and originality, and I was reminded of Sir Tom Stoppard’s play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead “. In this play they are the main characters, and the action takes place “ in the wings “ of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The two protagonists voice their confusion at the progress of events occurring onstage.
We left the Château de Chillon, with the dying embers of a beautiful sunset, and for my part, the thought that human nature is unfathomable, and unknowable. “To be or not to be: that is the question “.