Hamlet and I, Claudius- 2 best dramas

The two of my best dramas, both classics, and both British are Hamlet by William Shakespeare and I, Claudius by Robert Graves, both are things I can never be tired of. First of all, Hamlet is more of a tragedy and is one of the most famous tragedies ever, actually turns out to be the greatest of Shakespeare’s plays and for me it is the best and there only one of his plays which I like the most. Hamlet though has a fictional setting but related to Renaissance times, which was the same time as Shakespeare (15-1600’s) and is set in Denmark; it is best known as a revenge story of prince Hamlet who has a task of avenging his father no matter how hard it is as he has to kill his evil uncle, Claudius though his task ends making him go mad. I, Claudius on the other hand is another story but also a British classic but set in the Roman times during the time of the Julio-Claudian emperors (27BC-68AD) but mostly focuses on the life story of Emperor Claudius I and his unexpected story of becoming emperor, it is also called the epic that never was. It may be boring though but it is very interesting if you know it better; what I like about I, Claudius is just the tv series itself from 1976, it may have a boring style but it is full of energy from the actors and the story is very epic yet bloody and full of plots. The boring part though is that it is set in Roman times, which I find overrated but knowing about the inner parts of the Roman world, it seems fascinating. What I like most about it is the actors and their roles, both I, Claudius and the adaptations of Hamlet share the same actors if you noticed. hamlet_book_cover_by_snooly-d5rff4m14381918724_p0_v2_s260x420I. the backgrounds (I, Claudius): The epic of I, Claudius is based on real history but instead of the commonly known things about imperial Rome, it focuses on more detailed things of each members of the Julio-Claudian family, how they were like together. It was originally a book from the 1930’s written by Robert Graves and was made into film as a TV series in 1976, which was partly written by the author of it. The story focuses on the protagonist Claudius (full name Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar Germanicus) who was a member of the family but writes his family’s history as he survived the plots and disasters that happened to the members of his generation and made it out to old age becoming emperor of Rome (41-64AD). There were other important members involved in his life story, some succeeded, some failed though most were part of the powerful and bloody business of the empire such as Emperor Augustus Caesar and his grandmother Livia Augusta, also his uncle Emperor Tiberius, his nephew Emperor Caligula, his mother Antonia Minor, his brother the general Germanicus, his father general Drusus, and others outside the family such as the ambitious cunning agent Lucius Sejanus and Claudius’ friends. There’s quite a lot more to tell in this story as it is full of everything you want to know about the imperial family.

Emperor Claudius meme
Emperor Claudius meme

II. Hamlet- summary and background: The story of Hamlet is a world-famous and celebrated drama and was made into film several times and has the famous lines of “to be or not to be, that is the question”, “what a piece of work is man”, “alas poor Yorick” . It is about prince Hamlet, the prince of Denmark who’s father, King Hamlet has been poisoned and killed by his brother, Hamlet’s uncle who’s name is also Claudius. Claudius becomes king and also marries Hamlet’s mother Gertrude in which Hamlet is not satisfied although his father appears to him as ghost telling him to do his task an avenge his death which means killing Claudius. Hamlet’s overall fully hated his greedy uncle and often kept on warning his mother about him, at the same time he is helped by his trusted friend Horatio and also is in love with Ophelia but this drives both him and her mad. At one point Hamlet’s tests the king’s conscience and nearly kills him but ends up arguing with his mother and kills the king’s advisor Polonius. This action made Hamlet be sent away to England while back in Denmark, Polonius’ son Laertes seeks revenge on Claudius for his father’s death though it was actually Hamlet that did it, the more he hates Hamlet as he finds his sister Ophelia going insane because of him. Claudius makes an agreement that both Laertes and Hamlet will settle their vengeances by duelling each other when Hamlet comes back. In the duel, the king still tricks Hamlet by making the cup poisoned since if he was a round he will drink though Hamlet knew the trick so he refused it but his mother drank it and died from it. Laertes hits Hamlet with his poisoned sword and Hamlet does the same with Laertes leading to his death, after this Hamlet knowing the poison from the sword will kill him strikes Claudius and gives him the poison killing him bringing his father justice. Shortly after out of the absorbed poison and exhaustion, Hamlet makes peace with Laertes and falls on his friend  Horatio soon afterwards he dies as an honourable hero. At the same time, he surrendered Denmark to the rule of Fortinbras of Norway who would be a better king and he gives Hamlet a soldier’s funeral recognising him as hero throughout history. 8fe83e6f3db7a1e31e50ae8349bf8f1c

Derek Jacobi as Hamlet (1980)
Derek Jacobi as Hamlet (1980)
Hamlet and Laertes 1980
Hamlet and Laertes 1980
Branagh Hamlet "to be or not to be, that is the question"
Branagh Hamlet “to be or not to be, that is the question”

III. Comparisons: The stories of Hamlet and I, Claudius are not far apart and have some similarities especially the actors who played the roles in I, Claudius may have played roles in Hamlet a few times. The settings of the stories may be different as I, Claudius is set in Roman times and Hamlet is set probably in the 1500’s although the films show Hamlet in different times either Medieval, Renaissance, or modern. Of course both stories have a character named Claudius the difference there is that the Claudius in I, Claudius is the main protagonist and hero who at the beginning did not do great but foolish but turned out to be the surviving one at the end as he use his foolishness to help survive becoming something powerful and ruthless at the end. On the other hand, the Claudius from Hamlet was always jealous of his brother the king and poisoned him to make himself be king, the interesting back story here is that Hamlet’s Claudius was named after the same Emperor Claudius I who in Shakespeare’s time was thought to be an evil power-hungry emperor though the author of I, Claudius Robert Graves disproved the fact and changed Claudius’ image. One of the similarities here when comes to the film versions is the actors, in particular Derek Jacobi starred in the TV series of I, Claudius as Claudius while at the same time, he also did a Hamlet film where he played Hamlet and later on in the 1996 Hamlet, he played Claudius. The 1980 version of Hamlet ha 3 cast members from I, Claudius in 1976 including Derek Jacobi as Hamlet, David Robb (Germanicus in I, Claudius) as Laertes, and Patrick Stewart (Sejanus in I, Claudius) as Claudius. For me the 1996 movie of Hamlet was the best very extensive and not just plain but with so much excitement an emotion; it was directed by Kenneth Branagh who starred as Hamlet, Derek Jacobi was here too as Claudius and one of my all-time best English actors, Brian Blessed (Augustus in I, Claudius) did the role of the ghost of King Hamlet. Both stories too have the same type of scheming plots and revenge scenes making them overall great works of literature.

Horror House- the making

The Horror House is not something new I’ve been doing, it has been going around for 6 years now, in the same location of my house. This year is the 7th event of the Horror House with the theme of Asylum. The Horror House is the event that happens each Halloween, and now it still survives at its 7th Halloween. These Halloween events are run by 2 friends, both the founders of it, me, Powee Celdran and Jake Consing. It is an exciting fun event that happens annually though the making though is stressful but still fun after all. The whole thing began in 2008, then went on through the years having different themes such as mythical creatures and monsters from the Philippines (2009) and from around the world (2010), haunted hotel (2011), and your worst nightmare with scares from both the Medieval and modern world (2012-13), this year it is Asylum, with scars all on insanity. The past horror House have brought successful scares, this year, the scares shall be much more frightening bringing more nightmares!! The Horror House this year has the Asylum set-up, with less dividers but 2 areas, the first the entryway and the exit, the other is the main hall itself. Around the walls are webs, curtains, and insane items.

the start of setting up
The start of setting up

The set-up began only a few days ago, and by Halloween day, its finished, although being stressful in setting-up, the set turned out to be well. It has one divider at the middle, then a hall going around it. The hall is separated with curtains, on the other side is the entryway and exit. The curtains are used as dividers.

the masks and insanity items
The masks and insanity items

In the making of the Horror House, the curtains go first and making the place dark. Next is the positioning of props inside. Afterall, it turns out that the things inside have been positioned well having masks ad creepy images hanging, fake candles glowing, a few tables with stuff of insanity as well.

creepy vintage images
Creepy vintage images

The theme is Asylum based on insanity, making the props be based on Asylum. Part of this are creepy vintage images of people of the asylum placed on the table and mirror. There is also an alchemy table below with glowing candles and experiment items of the Asylum. These experiments on the alchemy table, were the ones that drove the people here insane, as part of the story here.

part of the alchemy and insanity items
Part of the alchemy and insanity items
part of the alchemy set
Part of the alchemy set

On the corners are chairs with scares behind them, the rest of the room has a few tables also with stuff on them. The props include fake hands, a chopped-off head, a lava lamp, and fake candles. Masks are hanging around the room too, sme props are hanging from webs and from above. IMG_6503

Some of the items inside are based on some stories of insanity or creepy stuff. One of the minor themes inside are based on the insane death of Germanicus, a Roman general and hero from the Julio-Claudian family, brother of Emperor Claudius and father of Caligula. His death was caused by seeing all sorts of crazy items that frightened him to death such as a chopped-off head, webs, his name on bloody messages and skulls that appeared on his room, these items are shown are shown here.

more of the set and props
More of the set and props

Part of the set is also props related to the play Hamlet with flowers and skulls lying around. As part of the asylum theme, there are bloody notes left around with crazy quotes based on insanity. Overall, the set looks and well though the scares and scarers make it complete. Part of the scares will be creepy music playing as people will come in for the scares. This should be a great success for the Horror House and should bring your most insane nightmares!! Happy Halloween!! to be continued…

It turned out to do successfully as the event happened for more than 2 hours and the team did well. It did not turn out exactly how it was supposed to be but was still a fun experience with a complete cast, a better set-up, and the team doing well (though I wasn’t there the whole time the event happened). The ones who made the ultimate Horror House happen included those from the past and those from this year’s only; myself (the chairman and Horror House team leader), Jake Consing (scares and set director), Sandro Yguico (sound-system), Santiago Roxas (organizer and producer), Villa de Asis (set organizer) and Renzo, Vince, Bobby (the scarers)

the team
The team

Of course we were prepared for this and the team did well overall, better of we had fin and scares! The making was a great unforgettable experience altogether.