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'Tried to Act as Though in Shakspere's Place,' Says Leslie Howard of 'Hamlet'


"I know our 'Hamlet' is different from many versions already produced, but that is because we have tried to place ourselves in William Shakspere's place and do what he would have done if he were alive today." Thus did Leslie Howard explain his work of the last two years in bringing forth the production in which he is currently starring at the Opera House.

"We are confronted with much paraphernalia that Shakspere never dreamed of. The staging of a play in the Bard's day was a simple matter. Now, however we have to decide what he would have done had he had the use of the apparatus which we have," explained Mr. Howard.

For those reasons were the various changes in the original text made. Usually Hamlet is cut unmercifully, but in this production much more is included than is customary, Mr. Howard emphasized.

"Much more is included than in any Hamlet I've ever seen; but then," he added, with a quick smile, "you know I've only seen a few. And in many ways I'm glad of it." I haven't any preconceived notions, but am completely free to draw a new character."

Any modern that attempts to stage a Shaksperian play must face the task with temerity, Mr. Howard said. However, he pointed out, it is well not to let that temerity stultify you. If certain changes appear desirable for modern staging, especially considering the differences in the modern stage and the stage of Elizabethan London, there is no reason why a modern producer should hesitate to make them, according to Mr. Howard.

Mr. Howard is well acquainted with Professor Hillyer, and holds Professor Kittredge in "the highest esteem." "Though of course, that's completely unnecessary for me to say," he added. "Future plans? Well, after the week's run here, we will go to Philadelphia for two weeks, and then into New York, After that, I'm undecided."

Mr. Howard admitted that he has already had several offers to film his version of the Melancholy Dane, "but that can wait. Just now we are primarily interested in the theatre version," he added.

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