Play after play.
Theatrical play actors plays 
Hamlet Kateryna Aksonova Man head silhouet inside it Shakespeare book Hamlet

    Conception of play.
    Actors who inspired.
    Backstage writing a play.
    Play as finished product.
    Translation to English.
    Turning point.
    From page to stage.
    Storyboard for theatre.
    To be continued...
    Never-ending story.
    Story with the end.

    Full text Play in English "Actor plays Hamlet"html
    Play in Russian "Актёр играет Гамлета"

    Conception of play.

    Idea for play "Actor plays Hamlet" came to my mind on 1st of September 2013.

    For a long time I was thinking about writing bilingual play.

    Which language to choose was the main problem. I'm bilingual: Ukrainian and Russian languages.

    I wanted really foreign language. There are lot of them. I chose to start from beginning. In my case English was the answer.

    When I picked English everything became perfectly clear. If English it's always Shakespeare for me.

    I decided to write play with William Shakespeare. His words and my words.

    Actor plays Hamlet modelling clay Shakespeare
bust paper table blue book

    Shakespeare first and always for me it's Hamlet.

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    Actors who inspired.

    Hamlet is desire for every man actor in world. Dreaming about this role ends in two versions: first - actor played it, second - actor stop breath.

    From where such thoughts? I watched on YouTube monologue "To be or not to be" (Быть или не быть) read by famous actor Mikhail Kozakov (Михаил Козаков). He made it when knew that will die. And I understand that Hamlet hasn't age or appearance. It's unstoppable urge. Actors age or his figure conditions is not important in this story. Hamlet is culture axiom not the date of birth.

    At first play was written on Russian, so I have different actors as inspiration. One of them is Vladimir Vysotsky. “My Hamlet” is not my favourite poem. I prefer “The Hunting for a wolves” (Охота на волков). This poem help in life when I am in blind alley. As tribute to Vysotsky is black turtle-neck sweater, actor preferred such clothes.

    One more thing, my actor is barefoot. It wasn't inspired by anyone. I just didn't know which shoes to chose. One shoe was also strange.

    When I begin translation to English I saw Jude Law performance from 2009, only trailers and David Tennant television film BBC directed by Gregory Doran, 2009. Both actors were barefoot in scene of madness. So I left that idea like usual for English speaking audience.

    Few women tried to play Hamlet. I tried to write Hamlet.

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    Backstage writing a play.

    Most difficult was to read a play of Hamlet Prince of Denmark like at first time. Forgot about everything that I read, heard, saw. Fresh view. Try to discover it for performance.

    Really, when I wrote, I play it. I start to read it aloud and made gestures. This is play for performing, not for solitude reading.

    It was hard to write it. I was tired, like I am playing it on the stage, not typing.

    It's astonishing that still, today, in that play is strong power.

    Why I chose one men play? Because it is a confession. Actor confession. No one else need here. Only audience.

    At first I didn't want to have so many citations from Shakespeare. But Hamlet have to spoke for himself.

    Actor plays Hamlet Modelling clay actor
kneeling on the stage hands up

    Hope performing Hamlet will be exactly amazing for actor as for me was writing about him.

    One actor on stage, it is like in life. You are alone on stage and everything depends on you. I propose not a life, but few hours with Hamlet.

    I try to read text literally, without everything that was explained during all this centuries. But even in play I can't refuse for few comments.

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    Play as finished product

    I'm playwright and I write plays for theatre. It only letters which formed words.

    Every time when I edit text or reread it - I see it, I want to play it. Not in reality. This words wait for another person who will read it and perform it.

    When I finished revising in English and read full text in August 2014, I saw in which theatre I want first reading of this play. It's unprofessional. I want that this play to be performed by as many actors as it possible. It was dream about first reading.

    Waiting and understanding is what belongs to writers.

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    Translation to English.

    I did my best. I edit play. Also, I translate excerpts from "Actor play Hamlet". At the beginning I want to make bilingual play. Than I understand that this quotations will be suitable inside English text.

    It was interesting. The same thoughts in different language.

    I knew that translation of Hamlet would be difficult. And I wanted to have my time.

    In my New Years Wishes for 2015 I wrote that I wanted to speak with Lyndsey Turner and Benedict Cumberbatch about Hamlet.

    Why that two persons among thousands which connected with this play in whole world? Answer is simple - they scared me with announcement of show. How? At first of July I read about huge performance that will begin on 5th of August. Story about my panic could be sad and stupid. I understood that I can't finish revision before beginning of show. And even if will be non-legal version of performance, I won't see it because "This video is not available in your country". It will look like I made it with purpose and I didn't plan comparison.

    Did you already guess my blunder? No. I'll tell you. When I saw a date I didn't look at year. And I worked like crazy until end of July, when I checked again and noticed that have one year in front of me.

    If you stop laugh, I will continue. Yes, I am such sort of woman who will notice hair of another woman on suit of loved man and don't notice fire hydrant on empty car parking. I don't drive a car, but I believe in myself, I could not give attention even to elephant.

    I met my deadline and play was printed at 18 of August. It was my craziest translation. Perhaps stress did his best and since that I wrote plays at first place on English.

    Few words about “Hamlet” (6.08.2015); Puzzle (16.10.2015); My fault. 13.04.2016

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    For "Actor plays Hamlet" I decided to make a collage. Even theatre poster.

    I watch all I could on internet. I hate Hamlet and scull. I confess it in text of my play.

    Never say never. My deep emotions have strange results. I created a scene in play in which in comical way is presented famous Jorik’s soliloquy without changing a Schakespeare’s words. I didn’t like Jorik’s soliloquy, but when it could bring laugh I have doubts. Maybe everything not so tragic. It fit for mystery play. Puppeteer's curse.

    I spend several days thinking about my Hamlet poster. At the end I had terrible headache. It was so strong that I think head fall apart and at that moment I found everything. Headache stopped - I have a conception of my picture 13th of December 2013.

    Actor plays Hamlet paper man silhouette
scissors head shakespeare to be or not to be

    I remembered about Afina, daughter of Zeus, she was born from her father's head.

    In my variation from head of man's silhouette came Shakespeare himself. Everyone open him personally.

    Actor plays Hamlet Shakespear inside mens head
which fells apart silhouette

    On both sides there are pages from reprinting of text. Also, few words from "to be or not to be".

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    Turning point.

    Everyone have own way in life. I can say only for myself: I need to write near 20 plays in period of 4 years to find what I'm looking for.

    Plays was in Ukrainian and Russian. I took part in competitions, won long-list and diploms. It wasn't a turning point. I just chose my way in creativity.

    A read a lot about theatre. I want to make it my speciality as journalist, before I start writing my own theatrical plays.

    All my life I live in words. I'm also an avid reader.

    Everything begins when you think - it's not enough. I want more. I want to make my plays on stage. I want to be a theatre director.

    Dreams not always came in suitable moment. Educational semester started, and after it in Ukraine happened what will be black pages in our history. Ragnarok. It was not the right moment. Also I can't think only about what will be tomorrow. Is my country will have tomorrow? Theatre saved me. I start to create my reality.

    At first only in my dreams. Page after page, word after word. I read even more about theatre. I know it is not right time to start something new and big. Not the time to find people who can help you. When foreign army in your country no time for muses.

    Deep in my thoughts I'm really optimistic person. I believe that after all that scary days life will go on.

    The more I read the more I believed that I will find my way out from this awful actuality.

    In one article, not remember where, sorry to author, I read - writer is the puppet master, sees all and controls all.

    If I haven't real actors, I could find which one suits me.

    Actor plays Hamlet wooden mannequin in front
of theatre poster black and white

    In school I was performing like an actor in puppetry theatre. Actors from paper are also actors.

    At this time, I had a turning point I start to dream big - make my own theatre.

    I try few techniques and variations after I had an understanding - I can do this.

    In theatre you can be somebody else. In theatre you have to work hard. It was my escape and I'm happy that I found it.

    Why I choose theatre instead of politics life in my country? I had tried it in 2004. I dreamed, I hoped, like everyone else. Journalistic words didn't change anything. I just try to find new way to make world better.

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    From page to stage.

    With "Actor plays Hamlet" I try different techniques to make my words alive on stage.

    In photos you could see story of my attempts.

    Hamlet made of plasticine or modelling clay.

    Actor plays Hamlet Actor in black kneels
opposite red chair near blue book Shakespeare old wall

    Hamlet made of paper like jumping doll.

    Actor plays Hamlet paper jumping doll Actor skips over 
pages of the book which on his hands stays among table and chair

    Hamlet as wooden mannequin dressed in costume.

    Actor plays Hamlet Actor wooden mannequin 
dressed in costume from paper in front of grey wall

    Everything that I found about stage management was very helpful to make my dreams come true.

    For every picture I made rehearsal.

    Actor plays Hamlet Actor wooden mannequin 
on stage he feels awfull

    Actor plays Hamlet Actor wooden mannequin kneels
his hands closed his head

    Actor plays Hamlet Actor wooden mannequin 
wolking on stage playing with ball

    I find it very interesting to make plays like performance.

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    Storyboard for theatre.

    Storyboard happened spontaneous. At first I just want to make simple blocking. Marks and arrows.

    Making paper doll was fascinating and in the end I finished making storyboard for the play.

    Hope you like it. Visual storyline for all performance.

    Actor plays Hamlet Actor skips over pages of the book 
which on his hands stays among table and chair He is right in his thoughts

    Storyboard is situate like illustrations inside text "Actor plays Hamlet"html

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    To be continued...

    Never stop or to be continued.

    As soon as I finished making photos at March 2014 for "Actor plays Hamlet" I want to start work for another play.

    It was difficult to stop and forget about finished work.

    I had an idea for another interpretation for my own words.

    This time it became play with two actors. Empty stage, without table and chair, also went away Shakespeare's bust and book.

    Actor plays Hamlet Actors wooden mannequins
playing on the stage with ball both man in black

    Play performance as playing with a ball when changing who speaks next.

    Now it is a story about actor, who sees himself when he is playing Hamlet.

    Actor plays Hamlet Actors wooden mannequins
one kneels and have a ball second watch audience

    Second actor is in the scenic costume for Hamlet, not finished properly.

    He tries to say it differently and listen comments from first actor.

    Actor plays Hamlet Actors wooden mannequins
stands on closes his head with palms second near him

    It was fascinating even for me. So I make few photos in that variation.

    Creativity never stops, maybe I find new ways for this words.

    Actor plays Hamlet Actors wooden mannequins
bow law at the end of the performance applauds

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    Never-ending story.

    In May 2014 I translated first draft of play Actor plays Hamlet into English. I thought that I need full text, not excepts.

    After it began long work at self-editing. English is not my native language and I wish I know it better, but I used to work hard.

    Everything was usual. I finished revise another play and hope that all be the same with Hamlet.

    No, after tenth month from time when I wrote play in Russian I have a new thoughts for it.

    All play I wrote in few days on September 2013 and in the end of July and beginning of August 2014 I have some words to add. It was absolutely unusual.

    I already noticed that play ruled when to finish, not me. After so many revisions I have new ideas. I was surprised by my own text.

    I made a day-off between revisions. Worked on Ukrainian text and I started to think about Horatio. I can't resist and put few sentences in the end of play.

    Then I start to edit it from the beginning. It was unbelievable. I edited errors and wrote some lines about character. It was unstoppable.

    I have ideas about Hamlet's life as actor, about Queen, Ophelia, Claudius.

    In play I wrote that actor is slave of Shakespeare's words. I am also became his slave.

    I didn't know how it happened but when worked with English text I saw much more of Hamlet. It was like magic.

    I edited one scene and had thoughts about another one. I added all time. And I understand as more I edit, the more I add. So I chose to stop editing. Yes, I know that I left in text errors and mistakes. Also I know I try to stop make from play a novel. Even when I write this I have ideas about another characters of play.

    My intention was to write only about Hamlet, not about every character in Prince of Denmark.

    Hamlet never ends and it's awesome. But I also have ideas about another Shakespeare's plays and box of ideas for different writing.

    Hamlet is delusive. You think you know him inside and outside but not. He all the time surprises you.

    I could only wish patience to directors who work with that play and actors who play Hamlet. You will never think that you have done all what you could.

    Play is like nut you could polish it outside but taste is inside. Every time when you dive in that text you think you could see the bottom. But after that you understand that you haven't enough air to dive deeper.

    For now a made a pause in my work on that play. When I'll finish another project I think I will come back to Hamlet again. And I don't know which Prince of Denmark I'll see than.

    9.02.2016 I uploaded play Multilingual collapse , in text I used "To be or not to be" in Danish language. "I thought it will be fun to heard Hamlet's soliloquy on Prince's native language read by Englishman."

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    Story with the end.

    I revised this story about play. Now is March 2015. I chose: play is finished. It has to be that way.

    I still have thoughts about Hamlet. But this play has curtain. Live without that story. Put the point after end.

    I have an idea for normal play in madhouse, about Hamlet.

    I will use Innokentiy Smoktunovsky’s experience of solving this problem. Actor played Hamlet twice. First time in 1964, classic film. Next time 1966 as character Yuriy Detochkin in "Beware of the car" (Берегись автомобиля). Till today it's argument which Hamlet is better.

    For everybody who read me I am with Hamlet like Scrat, a sable-toothed squirrel who is obsessed with collecting acorns, from “Ice Age”. It’s absolutely mistaken impression. I see myself during past months as purple Minion from “Despicable Me 2”. They are totally different characters, which haven’t nothing in common.

    Long writing like my story with that play. Thank you for patience.

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    ©Катерина Аксьонова

    Best wishes, Katheryna.


    Please send your letters to: aksioma@neonet.ua.

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