It’s official – I am going to this conference in Cambridge in September! There are some fantastic people involved, and also some really intriguing breakout sessions and papers on unusual topics. Including this one from Lisa Hopkins, of Sheffield Hallam Uni, who wrote the excellent introduction to postgraduate Shakespeare Studies, "Beginning Shakespeare":
When the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2008 production of Hamlet, directed by Gregory Doran and starring David Tennant, was first broadcast on BBC2 on Boxing Day 2009, it was neatly sandwiched between the two parts of Tennant’s final ever Dr Who episode, The End of Time, which had begun on Christmas Day and was to conclude on New Year’s Day. This paper argues that there were in fact similarities between the Hamlet and the Dr Who episodes, and that these collectively constitute an instance of this production’s construction of a radically fractured identity for its Hamlet, with the unusual treatment of the play-within-the-play being particularly important in this respect. Just as the cover of the DVD shows us a Tennant split into two, with two incomplete and distorted versions of his face one above another, and just as the television film perhaps inadvertently but nevertheless insistently emphasised his alternative identity as the Doctor, so too this Hamlet as a whole, and the play-within the play in particular, showed us a Hamlet caught uneasily between two sets of fantasies, two sets of fathers, and two sets of identities.
It’s really exciting to see this taken up by a serious academic, and I look forward very much to hearing her thoughts, and how they fit with some of my own.