The emperor has no clothes Feb 23, 2013

by M

I came with an open mind, I thought, and I hung in there while Scott was acting. At least there was an interesting face to see, and word/images/language coming from a human presence.He seems to be a good actor with a good voice and I thought he carried off the Hamlet feel remarkably well DESPITE having to deal with algorithmic script.  I know Hamlet quite well  and I tried not to think about it because the wonderfully familiar ring and associations were being so arbitrarily dismembered (for what reason I wonder??). Some of the less familiar phrases and words, I suppose,  succeeded in producing (retaining) an effect of richness and pleasant surprise, but mostly I struggled with not resenting the fact that the language had lost all the power and mystery and complexity that it would have had, if it had been allowed to remain in its original form!

So you're experimenting with words and sounds and their effects, isolating them from their original context stirring them around and seeing what sort of new poetic theatrical effects you can produce by this general disruption/destruction. Then you superimpose some mathematical, mechanical "order" on top of the mess. Well maybe this is an attractive exercise for a programmer but it seems very very thin for  theatre.  Why do you think this is a way to produce emotional punch or even intellectual discourse. This is about man and machine??

The second half didn't work at all for me. The effort to have a stage, with the fog and the curtain seemed trivial. Why would you have chosen words as the visuals rather than something that might have "heightened" the auditory experience instead of detracting from it?  Why would you think that seeing "letters" and words would add anything? Why did we need to know who was talking? Is it important to try to make computers sound like human voices? why are you trying to make a computer generated voice sound emotional? Why bother? Is this about Hamlet or about algorithms and programming tricks with lighting and sound effects? I would have preferred Hamlet left alone. It's wonderful. Maybe you could try doing it with the Bible.

Sorry I thought the whole thing was strangely and sadly misguided. Sorry. and when the questions came along I thought why doesn't someone point out that the emperor has no clothes.