Review: It's the angry, bloody and violent Hamlet at the Riverside Studios
Review: Polly Stenham's Hotel at the National Theatre

Ben Whishaw on being in love and Hamlet


It's the Australia and New Zealand festival of literature and arts here in London and Ben was on a panel this morning discussing art and spirituality among other things. It was led by Australian artist and writer Juliet Darling whose partner, art curator Nick Waterlow, was murdered along with his daughter by his mentally ill son.

Julia is a friend of film director Jane Campion and wrote a book, A Double Spring, about losing Nick.

Nick Waterlow believed you had to be an 'empty vessel' to fully appreciate art which Ben said he found a helpful ideology:

"It was helpful to me not just as a human being but in how you form relationships with others. You have to have an empty space and allow other people to come in and fill it."

Which led him on to talking about love:

"Falling in love is a similar sensation, being in a state of openness and a feeling that you are helpless to resist. It changes the course of your life and you are powerless to resist."

And he was asked about how that idea shaped his performance, particularly Hamlet:

"My experience of the best times in my life and performance is when there has been self forgetfulness and the character is playing you, something has taken over; there is an ease and a sense you are in life's flow. I did have that sensation for a just a few nights when doing Hamlet."

Asked about personal life and personal experience vs what you give and expose in a performance he said:

"You don't necessary switch off what is happening to you personally, you use what you are feeling, you don't deny it. You've still got to get to the theatre, you've still got to give a live performance."

Tonight he's back at the festival again this time performing the Song of Solomon with music composed by his Australian husband Mark Bradshaw.