Hamlet: As the Plot Turns, Or oh goody, a play

Song for the post. Jason Isbell: Traveling Alone.

The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king. (Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2)

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 2 Scene 2. In Syd Field’s language, it’s time for Plot Point One. A plot point is a story event that directs the action in a new, unexpected direction.

Hamlet knows what he knows, and he knows it deeply. To prove it, that is another thing. The universe has turned against him. It has dug a hole for Hamlet, and it is throwing dirt over him. He needs a shovel.

The guy comes home to the castle. His dad is dead. Last he saw Dad he was healthy as a horse. He was bit by a snake and it was bye bye Miss American pie. On top of that, Mom has remarried. To Uncle Claudius, of all people. So he doesn’t get to be King Hamlet. Even for a day.

It would have been nice if Uncle screwed up. He didn’t. Uncle Claudius has this king thing down to a tee. He looks like a king, smells like a king, sounds like a king. He acts like a king, and he is damned good at it.

Then there is the ghost, and he’s dumping the dirt on Hamlet too. Could be his father. But maybe it is a demon or the devil. He dumps a revenge onto Hamlet’s noggin. How will that get dear old Dad out of a purgatory Hamlet did not believe in? This purgatory is a Catholic thing. Hamlet is a Protestant.

Hamlet deep down wants to be king. More than anything. So he is ready to do just about anything. But murder. No way. There’s a little thing called the Ten Commandments and “Thou shalt not kill”. It doesn’t say “except if he’s an s.o.b.”

Maybe Hamlet doesn’t want to be king after all. Even if he did want it, he can’t do the cold blood thing. He needs proof. Not only for others. For himself as well. So how is he going to do that? He hasn’t a clue.

First Polonius shows his face, then R & G with whom he used to play touch football. With whom he no longer has anything in common.

More words, words, words, and none the right ones. Tit for tatting with his old chums, now working for the Dark Lord. Hamlet says, “I have of late…lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition.” In other words, I am so down-and-out these days, I’ve let my LA Fitness membership slide, I am not dating much, and I haven’t smiled in days. No, make that weeks. Hamlet is really, and truly, bummed.

R/G says to the Hamster,” A troupe of actor’s a-coming this way. You know them?”

“I do?”

“Yes, they were the same troupe you knew at school.”

“Oh, that troupe.

Then Shakespeare steps in to speak through the mouths of his actors. He complains how child actors have given his theatrical troupe competition. They’ve been very successful at it of late. He complains that they are biting into the Globe’s revenues. Ticket sales are down.

Hamlet welcomes the troupe. Sees if they’ve still got their chops, for Hamlet knows a bit about acting. More than a bit. Seems he could join the troupe himself if he were not a prince and he was looking for a job. Now comes the Plot Point One. Hamlet has come upon a design which will reveal if Claudius is guilty of his father’s murder or not. He will set a trap.

To the lead player, he requests the troupe do “The Murder of Gonzago”. He shall write a speech for them to insert into the play. It will be such a speech that once and for all proves, or disproves, Claudius’ guilt.

Hamlet now has his shovel. Now for Act 3 when all hell breaks loose.

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: The Man Who Broke the Code

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Imitation Game” (2014).

World War II is only a distant memory now. The darkness of that time mostly forgotten. We have little idea now how close England, the United States and their allies came to losing. It was the darkest of times for England. She was losing the war. Hitler’s submarines were sinking merchant ships bringing her vital supplies to England. His Luftwaffe blitzkrieg was devastating its cities with their bombs.

The British were desperate to break the code the Germans were using to send orders from Berlin. If they could break the code transmitted by the Enigma machine, the Brits would know where and when the Nazis would hit. Though they had an Enigma, they could not break the code.

Unfortunately the code was virtually unbreakable. The Germans reset the code at the beginning of each day. If the Brits broke the code on Monday, there would be a completely new code on Tuesday. In addition, there were millions of choices for the daily code. it took a genius to come up with a way to break the Enigma. That genius was Alan Turing.

Benedict Cumberbatch first made his splash on my consciousness as Khan in “Star Trek: Into Darkness”. He was the best thing about that movie. And I couldn’t even pronounce his name. Now he breathes Alan Turing to life into “The Imitation Game” (2014).

Turing finally broke the with his team at Bletchley Park. Especially with the help of fellow mathematician, Joan Clark, convincingly played by Keira Knightley. According to experts, their work shortened World War II by two years and saved millions of lives.

Director Morten Tyldum is to lauded along with his excellent cast for delivering a moving portrayal of a great scientist, his contributions and the challenges he faced. In addition, Alexandre Desplat has given “The Imitation Game” a wonderful musical score. Over the last few years, I have been very pleased with the music he produces for the films he scores. He is fast becoming one of my favorite film composers.

While Albert Einstein was being lauded as the greatest scientist of the age, two others whose contribution to the Allied effort helped bring World War II to an end were being disgraced. One, J. Robert Oppenheimer, as a communist, the other, Alan Turing, a homosexual. “The Imitation Game”, and the book, Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges upon which it is based, brings the Alan Turing’s contributions out of the shadows finally. J. Robert Oppenheimer is still waiting his turn.

What was your favorite movie from 2014?

Bald Man’s Blues

Song for this post: “Hair” from the Musical Hair.

A pickin’ and a grinner

I was having a bad hair day
And for me that wasn’t easy
All my hair had gone away
And the rest was feeling breezy

It was a big bad thing
When my head went lean
It was a big bad dream
When my hair left the scene

Once a shaker and a mover
Now two strands for a leftover
My hair’s nothing but a loser
And not much for a combover

It was a big bad thing
When my head went lean
It was a big bad dream
When my hair left the scene

Bridge:
When I checked the mirror
My hair was a big, big zero

All my bats were in the belfry
And the top of my head was thin
Pulled down by Old Man Gravity
My hair took it on the chin.

It was a big bad thing
When my head went lean
It was a big bad dream
When my hair left the scene

Friday’s Creator Corner: Kinky Friedman, Texas Troubadour and Mystery Writer

Each Friday I feature a Creative Artist on Friday’s Creator Corner. Creativity is the art of making something out of nothing. I leave the post up for a week, then replace it with another post. After taking it down, I link it to Friday’s Creator Corner Artists page.

Today’s Creator’s Corner artists is Kinky Friedman:

Hamlet and The Truman Show

Song for this post. Cat Stevens: Moon Shadow

For the satirical rogue says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit. (Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2)

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 2 Scene 2 (continued). It’s that time, folks. Time to ask if Hamlet is mentally unstable or is he just playing fast and loose ’cause he’s on “The Truman Show”?

Freud says yes. Jung says no. Skinner says he is behaving that way, so it must be true. Adler says he has several rings on the Actualization ladder before he’s happy. Hamlet’s doctor blames it on that bedwetting episode the Hamster had when he was six. Let’s just say that Princey isn’t a happy camper and leave it at that.

Thing is the Hamster can’t get a moment’s peace. Hamlet is having a down-and-out with Ophelia. Mom is down on him for being so hard on the king. Last few days, he’s caught Polonius eavesdropping on him big time. If that ain’t enough, he is strolling down the hall. Out pops Polonius and gives Hamlet the third degree. Man, I would find that a bummer too. He has become a canary in a cage, thanks to Claudius and Mom’s intentions.

Probably Poly came up with the plan to get rid of Dad. That’s some down and dirty plotting. Makes Hamlet wonder if Cain had a minion urging him on. “Ah, c’mon. You will be the Big Man on Campus instead of that smarty Abel. Always egging you on. ‘My sheep are better than your cabbage.'”

Does Hamlet have an antic disposition or is he just feeling blue? He may not be a mentally unstable person. He just plays one of tv. But he sure feels like somebody’s watching him these days.

So Polonius asks him what he is reading. “Who does Polonius think he is?” Hamlet thinks. He doesn’t really care. Just wants to be left alone. Of course, he’s reading words…words…words. Perhaps Hamlet is reading Kierkegaard. Perhaps he is reading Sartre. After all, existentialism is all the rage. And who is a better example of that philosophy than Hamlet?

Or perhaps he is reading one of the Gospels.

Hamlet is so angry. The gall of Polonius. It’s enough to drive a guy mad if he wasn’t already mad. Hamlet does a rhetorical. “Do you know me indeed?” Hamlet gets in his jab. “Just one man in ten thousand is good. (You ain’t him.) A coward dies a thousand deaths. The valiant taste of death but once.” Take that you Poly-want-a-cracker.

Poly leaves and in comes the clowns, R & G. And they talk blah-blah-blah too. He is no more sane to them than he was to Poly. It’s all the sane to him.

Well, there you have it. The guy is play acting, or is he?