DCPA: In the Spotlife- Lenne Klingaman of ‘Hamlet’
Lenne Klingaman played Juliet in the DCPA Theatre Company’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and two roles in the world premiere of the time-traveling ‘Appogiatura.’ Now she is one of the few female actors to take on Hamlet, for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
In short, what is Hamlet all about? Mortality and what we are put here on this planet to do. Fortune, and how you handle it.
Tell us about the challenge of playing a female Hamlet: I love my character with my whole heart. All the flaws, all the joy, all the wit, all the desire, all the intellect, all the heart, all the love. Love drives this human. Love for her father, for her family that’s been broken apart, for her mother, as conflicted as that is, for her friends … and so when they wrong her, the pit of despair and pain runs so deep, not much can stop her. The push and pull of this character is a fascinating thing to witness and enact. Her intellect, mixed with her deep drive to act, to do something, whether it be exacting revenge or finding out the truth, is luscious to sink my teeth into. Every night I am confronted by having to do Hamlet’s “Rogue and Peasant Slave” speech, followed immediately by “To Be or Not to Be.” This juxtaposition is the VERY heart of the character. We could talk about placement of “To Be” for a while, but I will say the positioning of it at Act 3, Scene 1, out of all the three folio/quarto options, makes the most sense to me. I don’t think the speech is about killing oneself. It is about action. About what it means to truly live, which goes hand-in-hand with dying, the ultimate consequence of living.
What do you hope audiences get out of seeing your show? Oh, I hope people hear the text anew. That they fall in love with it in new ways. That they feel like a new and different life has been breathed into it – but was always there. I hope young girls see me sword fight, spit, kick things, love, swear, cry, and shout, and want to do all of that, too. (Maybe not the stabbing part.) I hope men see it and want to play Hamlet with some new ideas in mind. I hope people see a kingdom that is falling apart. Because ultimately, that is what Hamlet is fighting – corruption of the spirit, of the soul, of the kingdom. (And there is so much spying in this play. Everyone is a spy!)