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Friday, November 27, 2015

December 25, 2012 Post -- Revisited

My post of December 25, 2012 titled "Is There an American Acting Tradition?" discussed Kenneth Branagh's production of Hamlet.  I stated that only in the exchanges with the American actors did Mr. Branagh leave the traditional "representational"  (as Uta Hagen described it) style of British performance of Shakespeare, and spoke as if the thought had just occurred to him.

I think it's more accurate to say that Kenneth Branagh's performance of Hamlet in that production moved between the two styles of performance.  In particular, note his scene with Horatio regarding his impending duel with Laertes that begins with "We defy augury..."  His performance in that scene is definitely not "representational."

What was troubling to me was that Mr. Branagh didn't seem to be aware of the difference in style.  He didn't seem to make a conscious artistic choice between the two styles of acting.  This lack of definition continues (Branagh's production of Hamlet will be 20 years old in 2016) to this day. 

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