In this very special bonus episode, we interview Maxine Peake about playing Hamlet in the Royal Manchester Exchange production of Hamlet (2014/2015), which was recorded on film. The film of the production will be screening across the U.S. this week (mostly on May 2). To find a theatre near you, visit www.hamletmaxinepeake.com. You can purchase the DVD of the recorded production from Amazon UK here.
Host: Alex Heeney (@bwestcineaste)
Interviewers: Laura Anne Harris and Caitlin Merriman (@CaitlinSnark), with some questions contributed by Lesley Peterson.
3:15–5:08 How did being a woman playing Hamlet as a man (in a production with roles that are gender-swapped) affect Peake’s interpretation of Hamlet?
5:08–6:25 How did Peake decide to play Hamlet as trans?
6:25–8:11 How did the decision to gender-swap some of the characters come about?
8:12—11:05 What is the difference between tackling Hamlet when there’s so much text to play with compared with so many female characters (like Ophelia) in Shakespeare where there’s so little and so much of it is what you’re bringing to the role?
11:05–13:05 How much discussion did you have with your director about using your sexuality as a tactic in the play?
13:05–14:22 How did you feel about moving the ‘to be’ speech to Act 4?
14:22–16:56 How important do you think it is for theatre companies to open more opportunities to play famous Shakespearean characters?
16:56–17:51 Are there other male parts you’re now itching to play?
17:51–20:27 What was your experience of audience interaction and your performance?
20:27–22:40 How did doing the play in the theatre in the round at the Exchange affect things?
22:40–24:47 How did having cameras in the theatre for the filmed version change the performance or your experience of it?
24:47–26:33 There are a few line readings in your performance that are different from the traditional ones. How did these come about?
26:34–29:05 How did you develop Hamlet as a 21st century character?
29:05–31:01 How did the decision to do the lines so quickly at the beginning come apart and how did that affect you physically?
31:02–33:11 At some point, it slows down. How did you decide where and how to slow down?
33:11–35:40 Because the second half is so difficult, what was the strategy for tackling that in rehearsal?
35:40–37:35 How did you prepare for the part before rehearsals began?
37:35–40:18 How did you find the performance changed across the 7-week run?
40:18–42:18 How did you decide to cut Fortinbras?
42:18–44:57 How did you edit the Michael Grandage script you were working from?
44:58–47:21 What was the backstory between Horatio and Hamlet in your production?
47:30–48:45 Closing comments and outro