Aha Moment: I Am Hamlet


Friday, April 04, 2014

As a teenager, Jeff House watched Christopher Plummer play Hamlet on TV with his big sister, who was enthralled; House was nonplussed. “The language didn't make sense,” he remembers. And the hero was all doom and gloom, consumed by questions about the nature of existence. “I couldn't figure out what Hamlet’s whole concern was. ... I thought he was ‘much ado about nothing.’”

Then, in his early 20s, House had a trauma of his own. He lost his first serious relationship and his faith — and with that, the support of his family. “I remember having a strong sense that I had failed.” One day, at a community theater, he found himself sitting in the audience for Hamlet. He chose the back row, figuring he’d slip out when he got bored. Instead, “I was stunned. I was watching my life on stage — and I wanted to see what happened.”

One of Hamlet’s famous lines is a personal motto for House: “The readiness is all.”

(Originally aired: September 7, 2012)

→ Is there a play, book, song, or other work of art that has changed your life? Tell us in a comment or by email.

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Produced by:

Jenny Lawton and Thomas Seely

Comments [2]

Margaret Hayes from Ludington MI

Re your WLMN April 9 program on Shakespeare plays: I am no sure you mentioned it, but didn't Patrick Stewart play Shakespeare before Star Trek?
We live in Western Michigan with not close access to playhouses so since the 1960s some of us have made trips to Stratford, Ontario, Canada and have seem MANY Shakespeare plays, but also many other fine plays by Chekov, Moliere, Noel Coward, and others as well as plays by current authors. All have been good and worth the effort to travel there. In our younger days we would leave Friday after work and get home late on Sunday feeling refreshed by the experiences.

Apr. 09 2014 03:54 PM
Dirk from West Chester PA

Simple example of a song that helped save me when I was near my lowest point in life: "The Mary Ellen Carter" by Stan Rodgers, that Wikipedia says is "intended as an inspirational hymn about triumphing over great odds. It tells the story of a heroic effort to salvage a sunken ship, the Mary Ellen Carter, by members of her former crew."

You can hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fhop5VuLDIQ&feature=kp

Despite the depression I was suffering, the losses I was going through, I believed Stan Rodgers when he advised:

Rise again, rise again—though your heart it be broken
Or life about to end.
No matter what you've lost, be it a home, a love, a friend,
Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

I listen to Studio 360 on WHYY 90.9.

West Chester, PA

Apr. 05 2014 07:48 AM

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