The BBC has the news that David Tennant held aloft a real human skull in the graveyard scene during his stint as a beanie-hatted Prince of Denmark in the recent RSC production of Hamlet.
Which is fine, and rather a nice story when you read the detail. But what brought me up short as I read it was this line:
…it was not revealed that Tennant used a real skull in the play’s most famous scene.
Really? Its most famous scene? It’s an important scene, and key to the story, but I can’t think of a good argument for its being better known than the “To be or not to be” soliloquy. I can only conclude that whoever wrote the piece has either forgotten about the soliloquy (and can’t know much about the play) or thinks that it’s delivered during the graveyard scene (and can’t know much about the play).
I don’t ask that BBC journalists know Shakespeare by heart, but it would have taken all of two minutes to do the necessary research. It’s lazy efforts like this which are the reason I’d rather read an article by a thoughtful and well-informed blogger than one by a rushed and hard-of-thinking pro. Those of us who don’t do it for a living have the time to say exactly what we mean, on precisely the subjects in which we have an interest. And sometimes it shows in the quality of what’s produced.