As for Hamlet, if that isn’t a melodrama, I don’t know what is? Rubbish! That’s what I say. Of course every actor, some great, some not so, has played the role. The list includes Mel Gibson, David Tennant, Richard Burton, Kenneth Branagh, Sir Laurence Olivier, Richard Burbage, Thomas Betterton, Lewis Hallam. Jr., Edwin Booth( John Wilkes Booth’s brother), Asta Nielsen, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Kline, Sir Henry Irving, John Philip Kemble, Sir Ian McKellen, Edmund Kean, Sir John Gielgud, Sarah Bernhardt, Sir Derek Jacobi, Johnston Forbes-Robertson, Campbell Scott, William Charles Macready, Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Plummer, Nicol Williamson, John Barrymore, David Garrick and Iain Glen (Not in title Hamlet, played Part of Hamlet in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead). Men, women, everybody loves to play “Hamlet.”
I don’t know where I got that list? I filched it from some site online to point out the ridiculousness of those who have played that role, whereas, this next list is my list of those memorable lines we have heard at least one thousand times in our lives; “good night sweet prince.” Good way to make peace with his death, right ? “To thine own self be true,” Come on now. “To the Manor born.” Bankers and lawyers. “What a piece of work is man.” I can’t even comment on that one. And, of course, my favorite, “To be or not to be….” as if we had a choice.