The Playgoer: Boring by Reason of Insanity

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Boring by Reason of Insanity

For some reason Justice Anthony Kennedy has gotten his jollies over the years by presiding over a mock trial of Hamlet. As in, the guy, not the play.

I observed Kennedy do one of these myself back in 1996 when I was working as an AD on a "Hamlet" at the Huntington Theatre in Boston, and so it made for a convenient fundraiser. And I guess it doesn't take much to entice a bunch of lawyers to relish such a pointless exercise.

So he's still at it, recently in DC. Where you'd think there'd be enough real criminally insane princes to prosecute these days.

Basically, the premise is Hamlet is on trial for the murder of Polonius (as if that's the worst thing he does) and two lawyers debate whether he is legally responsible for the crime.

Yes, this is why it's a great play, I suppose.

And between the Freudianism and the twinky-defense, the whole thing is more dated than, well, most productions of Hamlet.

The only part I do like is how lawyers end up referencing lines from the play as evidence, but need to refer to it as "the record." Something nifty about that.

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