Breakneck Hamlet Companion

Breakneck Hamlet Companion: An Actor’s Notebook



  • “A madcap, high-energy and both funny and affecting take…the way Shakespeare should be taught: heard, lived, experienced.” –Allison Carter,
  • “If all Shakespeare’s works were taught like this in schools, students would embrace the works delightedly.”– Wendy Carson, “Plays with John & Wendy”


About the Book

An indispensable primer for actors, directors, and audiences. The Breakneck Hamlet Companion is the fastest, most epic, insightful, and funniest introduction to the greatest play of all time!
Jumping from Shakespeare’s richest poetry to Mooney’s playfully impetuous perspective, Breakneck Hamlet isolates key character questions, plot nuances and layers of intrigue, bringing them vividly, and permanently alive, as Mooney asks…

  • Why can’t Hamlet make up his mind?
  • What is Hamlet’s REAL issue with Claudius?
  • What phrase of “To be or not to be” makes sense of the whole speech?

And much more!
Shakespeare’s rip-roaring revenge drama/thriller, in just one hour with just one man! The greatest play of all time, as presented by the actor/adaptor of “The Greatest Speech of All Time,” “Shakespeare’s Histories,” and “Lot o’ Shakespeare!” Thrilling, profound, and still kind of hilarious,”Hamlet” holds the mirror up to nature like no play before or since!
Timothy Mooney’s book takes his celebrated adaptation of Shakespeare’s astonishing play and leads the reader through the intimate thought processes of an actor working his way through the “Mount Everest of Theatrical Roles.” Mooney discusses the political context not immediately evident to the modern audience, the stylistic expectations that would have seemed natural to the Elizabethan performer and the audience of that time, and his actual process in “making sense of a confusing monologue,” from “taking out the goose chase,” to reworking inverted constructions, working past extraneous words and finding the through line… essentially deconstructing and reconstructing the monologue before our eyes… until it all seems so very obvious to the reader.
Mooney notes the several clues that lead him to particular character choices which vividly distinguish Claudius from Hamlet, Laertes, Horatio, and others… extremely vivid choices that seem almost demanded by the text when looked at in a certain light.
At the heart of this play is a thorough discussion of Shakespeare’s most demanding, intelligent and aware character: Hamlet. Mooney distinguishes the tone of each of Hamlet’s several astonishing soliloquies, surfaces the themes that run throughout the play, and examines the different attitudes that Hamlet seems to adopt with each different character to whom he speaks.
Mooney repeatedly drops in surprising bits of historical perspective that has shaped the text, including a discussion of Denmark’s brief conquest of England, and the echoes of the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero the resonates on the periphery of this play.
Order your copy of Breakneck Hamlet Companion today!

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Breakneck Hamlet Companion




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