ACT2MOVE and MOVE2ACT: Hamlet in the Hospital

Apr 30, 2013
Tagged with: ACT2MOVE and MOVE2ACT: Hamlet in the Hospital

Dr. Bloom was rushed to the hospital on a Monday morning because he had aspirated on a piece of food.  Thankfully, the food was removed from his lung, a very painful procedure, especially because it was performed with just a local anesthetic.  He was put in ICU, given lots of medicine, hooked up to oxygen, and a liquid diet.  I guess you could say, things didn’t look so good.

But the Bloom family took turns being with Dr. Bloom.  His daughter, Bonnie, flew in from Texas, to  be with her Dad.  Jim, Dr. Bloom’s main care partner arranged for his other siblings, Helen and Christopher to help, as did he and of course, Mrs. Bloom.  Dr. Bloom held steady, got better, got worse, and then after a week and a day moved out of intensive care to a step down unit.

Jim told Dr. Bloom’s nurses, therapists, and doctors that he was an actor and even showed them a video clip from his Hamlet performance at Lakeshore Foundation.  They were impressed.  I can imagine Dr. Bloom blushing and saying thank you to their compliments.

When I visited Dr. Bloom, he looked good in spite of the oxygen nose-piece, IV, and hospital gown.  He and I, with Jim’s urging, performed the Hamlet Gertrude scene.  Now that I think about it, the hospital room may not have been such a bad place for that, as the scene does take place in a bedroom.  Dr. Bloom’s nurse said, “Wow, you are really good!”

Later, the respiratory therapist came in to give Dr. Bloom breathing treatments.  Jim and I asked the therapist if acting helped breathing.  Yes, he replied!  The lungs are muscles and since Dr. Bloom is not able to get up and move around, vocalizing is a great way to exercise those muscles, particularly loud vocalizing!  So, being the hams that we are, Dr. Bloom and I whipped out Hamlet and Gertrude again.  Even with the oxygen, the IV, and the lack of sleep being in ICU, Dr. Bloom was focused, in good voice, and remembered his lines (much better than I did).

What can acting do?  I suppose the real question to me at this point is, what can it not do?  The physical benefits – greater movement, increased dexterity, improved posture, stronger lungs – are incredible.  Mentally, the challenge of memorizing lines, engaging with another actor, figuring out the character – fabulous.  But, maybe the greatest gift of acting is hope.  If Dr. Bloom can play Hamlet in the hospital, what in the world is next!

Author: Elizabeth Vander Kamp

  • Harry R.

    Awesome! Acting is real life!