I Am Hamlet
978-0-8021-3224-6 • $14.00 • Paperback • Apr. 1989
What goes through a man’s mind when he is playing Hamlet? How does Shakespeare’s best-known play actually work, from the inside? Steven Berkoff is an actor, playwright, and director with an extraordinary talent for conveying powerful ideas and emotions. His production of Hamlet, in which he took the title role, began in Edinburgh in 1979, went on to the Round House in London, and toured throughout Europe for the next two years. The company completed its final performance as guests of Jean-Louis Barrault at his Rond Point Theater, where the audience gave the production a tempestuous ovation. During the tour Berkoff kept a journal and recorded the workings of the play from the director/actor’s point of view.
On the basis of that diary Berkoff has created an intensely personal analysis of the play with a line-by-line examination of the text and the way he approached it in his production. His detailed observations show how his imagination covers a wide range of human experience—from love and death to the nature of marriage and the messianic fervor of Hamlet. I Am Hamlet not only reveals the mind of a fascinating actor and director at work, it is also a singular encounter with a part that “touches the complete alphabet of human experience” and that every actor feels he is born to play.