365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

136. Old dudes just love to play Hamlet.

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Okay, not really “old”. At all. Most of the Hamlets I am familiar with were in their late 20’s-early 30’s when they played the role.

There is evidence that Hamlet is 30, and there is strong evidence that he is younger. Me, I prefer the younger Hamlet. I like my Hamlets to be undergrads. But there’s not really a problem with an actor a few years older playing Hamlet as long as they can be believable (I think of Jeff Cole from this past season at Richmond Shakespeare, who was 30 but certainly can pass for closer to my age, especially onstage…and even if he couldn’t, I don’t think people would have cared because he rocked that part).

I found a list of some Hamlets through the ages…and, well, their ages:

Sarah Bernhardt: 36

Laurence Olivier: 42 in his 1948 film version, opposite a Gertrude who was eleven years younger than he.

Richard Burton: 39

Innokenti Smoktunovsky: 39

Christopher Plummer: 35

Nicol Williamson: 33

Derek Jacobi: 42, opposite a 40-year-old Patrick Stewart as Claudius.

Iain Glen: 29 (the youngest Hamlet on film, from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead)

Kevin Kline: 43

Mel Gibson: 33

Kenneth Branagh: 36

Ethan Hawke: 30

Campbell Scott: 39

David Tennant: 37

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Written by Caroline Mincks

February 17, 2010 at 12:27 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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