“Hamlet is in his egg waiting to be brought to life. The inside of the egg can’t be seen but is alive.”
This episode of egg-Hamlet was inspired by the ‘To be or not to be?’ sketch performed during the Shakespeare Live – event organised by the RSC in 2016, to celebrate the genius of Shakespeare. You can watch the sketch here:
Ileana, who is a second language actor, felt frightened when watching the sketch.
She thought that: “Hamlet has become a religion (in England), which cannot be touched or retouched.” As a second language actor, Ileana feared that she would never be allowed to play Hamlet on an English stage, because of the incapacity to perfectly pronounce in the English language.
She could never become like the actors of the sketch. It seemed that those big Shakespearean actors would “plug themselves into some kind of musicality, some kind of way of enunciating, of standing on stage, of delivering, a particular manner of vowel-ing, of tempo-ing, of musicalising Shakespeare’s words”.
This is how the idea for this egg-Hamlet episode appeared: as a multidisciplinary re-think of the ‘To be or not to be?’ monologue… this time spoken – in an imperfect English – by a second language actor.
The egg-Hamlet in Bristol was supported by Artspace Livespace and gathered six artists from different disciplines: Peta Lloyd (performance artist), Veronica Cordova de la Rosa (visual and performance artist), Hannah Taggart (sculptor and animator), X-posed (improvisation musicians), Ileana Gherghina (actor and theatre director) and Michael Dudeck (performance artist).
The project lasted for five days and included a number of performances, interventions and installations, centred on the ‘To be or not to be?’ monologue.
Ironically responding to Shakespeare Live’s big actors, Ileana affirmed: “Although I was interested in how the actors were pronouncing certain words, I never saw myself imitating them!”
This episode of egg-Hamlet was a ‘To be or not to be?’ recited in an English that is not the English of Shakespeare. An English foreign to Shakespeare’s English. Another cadence, another pronunciation, accent, musicality.
Defiantly Ileana says: “I can be more musical than these actors!”
Ileana challenges the religion of Shakespeare in England: She fights against the usual preconception of actors and theatre-makers that:
“The way we normally speak has to stop now. Now the Shakespeare talking begins!
egg-Hamlet is another way of languiging the text of Hamlet in English.