IS IT A MISTAKE TO BEGIN HAMLET WITH “TO BE OR NOT TO BE”? I had taken a small family poll on what we thought of moving “To be or not to be” to the beginning of Hamlet.
Annalisa was the most scornful, saying that it’s as if the director were saying: “Just want you all to know you’re in the right theater.”
Mary Jane thought it was just as bad as Olivier’s beginning his movie of Hamlet with a voice over—“This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.” It may be that Cumberbatch’s director thought that “To be or not to be” summarized the play just as Olivier thought he had summarized the play with his first words.
Mary Jane and I think that the opening line of the play written by Shakespeare is a wonderful beginning for the play: “Who’s there?”