Toby Schmitz In The Cellar!
As part of the society’s ‘Blank Space’ program Toby Schmitz joined SUDS today at the Cellar to regale us with tales of Hamlet and other plays (but mainly Hamlet). He talked about the uniquely surreal experience of doing Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead and Hamlet at the same time, describing it as “fucking fun”, and how it stemmed from a university performance he did with Tim Minchin. As well as talking about his general acting process (which was pretty much anything that worked for him), he discussed the particular qualities involved in performing Hamlet. How the role had developed from the ownership of the barrel-chested, manly Richard Burbage to the quintessentially youthful tragic role we know now and how his take was considerably mentally disturbed. Despite the severe madness that Schmitz’s Hamlet exhibits the role had little effect on Schmitz’s own behaviour and he fortunately was never told “dude, you’re being a bit Hamlet.”
Schmitz also spoke of his love of the perpetual magic trickery in theatre, outlining his wish to do a mime Hamlet. He went on to talk about his need to explicitly reach out to the audience, stemming from the somewhat hostile audiences in the Perth comedy scene of the mid nineties. Now he still uses those same techniques as Hamlet to reach out to unimpressed audience members in Belvoir, where distinguishing an aside requires nothing more than “cocking an eyebrow”.
After the main portion of the talk, led by our own Finn Davis, the floor was opened up to the rest of SUDS who, unsurprisingly, asked lots of question about Hamlet. Before he left he posed for a few photos and bought the society a whole lot of beer. Yes he’s awesome, more awesome than you think. So thanks Toby!