8 November 2015

Hamlet | ハムレット

 Writer: William Shakespeare
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciarán Hinds, Anastasia Hille, Siân Brooke, Leo Bill
 Director: Lyndsey Turner

About two weeks ago, my husband and I went to see Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch that has the record for the fastest sold-out play in British theatre history. Because I rarely understand Shakespearean English, I had to compare the scenes with the Japanese script and Japanese version of Hamlet I saw at the Barbican in summer in my head to follow what was going on the stage. I have to admit that I lost my concentration and consciousness several times... Still I enjoyed it a lot. I had only seen Hamlet twice or so and I always got annoyed by his being so indecisive that things got worse and worse. But this time, I fully empathized with him. It's frustrating that I can't put what was different about Cumberbatch into words. He's really a gifted actor. I loved the set as well, the shade of blue they used for the walls and detail of the decor. The set felt so deep that it made me wonder if the stage of the Barbican has been always this big. As for the direction, there were moments I was a bit puzzled. I'd like to check this with someone who knows Shakespeare very well. 

After the curtain call, Benedict Cumberbatch made a speech to ask donation for refugees. He quoted a poem by a Somali British poet Warsan Shire which was very moving (I've put the whole poem at the end of this post).







Home, by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark.

you only run for the border
when you see the whole city
running as well.

your neighbours running faster
than you, the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind
the old tin factory is
holding a gun bigger than his body,
you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one would leave home unless home
chased you, fire under feet,
hot blood in your belly.

it's not something you ever thought about
doing, and so when you did -
you carried the anthem under your breath,
waiting until the airport toilet
to tear up the passport and swallow,
each mouthful of paper making it clear that
you would not be going back.

you have to understand,
no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land.

who would choose to spend days
and nights in the stomach of a truck
unless the miles travelled
meant something more than journey.

no one would choose to crawl under fences,
be beaten until your shadow leaves you,
raped, then drowned, forced to the bottom of
the boat because you are darker, be sold,
starved, shot at the border like a sick animal,
be pitied, lose your name, lose your family,
make a refugee camp a home for a year or two or ten,
stripped and searched, find prison everywhere
and if you survive
and you are greeted on the other side
go home blacks, refugees
dirty immigrants, asylum seekers
sucking our country dry of milk,
dark, with their hands out
smell strange, savage -
look what they've done to their own countries,
what will they do to ours?

the dirty looks in the street
softer than a limb torn off,
the indignity of everyday life
more tender than fourteen men who
look like your father, between
your legs, insults easier to swallow
than rubble, than your child's body
in pieces - for now, forget about pride
your survival is more important.

i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home tells you to
leave what you could not behind,
even if it was human.

no one leaves home until home
is a damp voice in your ear saying
leave, run now, i don't know what
i've become.

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