Writer and actor Richard Curnow talks to us about his upcoming show, Call Me Oz, being live streamed in January 2021.
Hamlet famously referred to Osric as a chough, meaning blabbering bird and lover of shiny things. Is Osric really that superficial?
Initially Osric can seem superficial, depending on decisions made in the rehearsal room. He is a minor character, often portrayed as being camp and effeminate, possibly in an attempt to gain a few cheap laughs. On the few occasions we meet Osric, Hamlet is all too keen to make fun of him. Horatio and Hamlet whisper derogatory comments about his flamboyant fashion sense and his flowery way with words. Osric, cannot have been unaware of how they considered him a figure of fun. However, in today’s more tolerant society, I see Hamlet’s attitude towards a young Osric as being disrespectful and almost cruel.
How did you build Osric’s story when so little is offered to you by Shakespeare?
Being a lot older than Osric, I thought I’d play him as a bit of a recluse. Traumatised in his youth by the events at Elsinore Castle, he has needed years of therapy. These therapy sessions haven’t really helped, but indirectly lead him to giving a series of interviews. He is forced to confront his demons, and eventually speaks his truth loud and proud. Most importantly he learns to like himself.
Will seeing the events of Hamlet through the eyes of Osric change our perception of the play and/or characters?
I hope so. Even Osric in CALL ME OZ, admits that Hamlet has “A way with words”, but I quote some of Hamlet’s lines, which could be interpreted as him being nothing more than a spoilt Prince and ever so slightly up himself.
What would you like audiences to take away from the performance of the play?
A different take on the character of Hamlet. Warts and all. From the perspective of a lesser-known character. Also, considering the importance of Polonius’ advice to Laertes “This above all, to thine own self be true.”
Call Me Oz will be live-streamed on the 21st January 2021 at 7:30pm.