Geoffrey tries to explain Ophelia’s madness to the very much clueless (and talentless) Claire:
Geoffrey: Stop. For God’s sake, stop.
Geoffrey: (with his head in his hand) Where is this coming from?
Geoffrey: This… staggering about with your mouth open?
Claire: (tight smile) You’re being sarcastic again with me, please don’t be sarcastic.
Geoffrey: Actually, I’m not, but sorry. (he gets up and approaches her)
Claire: Ophelia’s mad.
Claire: I’m playing madness.
Geoffrey: Right… and how does staggering about with your mouth open suggest madness?
Claire: (forebearing smile) I’m not mad.
Claire: And I never have been, so I have to simulate it.
Geoffrey: … Right.
Claire: I’m using sense memory. I’m remembering what it was like being stoned and I’m using that. I’m disoriented… my head is spinning… that’s probably what it’s like when you’re insane.
Geoffrey: (tight smile) Right. Well. It’s not. Trust me. That’s what it’s like when you’re stoned.
Claire: Forgive me, I mean no disrespect, but I don’t have your experience with insanity.
Geoffrey: (tight smile still very much in place) Right.
Claire: And this is hard anyway, I can’t take any meaning from the text… Ophelia’s just singing nonsense songs.
Geoffrey: (still smiling as he nods, his hands clenched) Right. Claire… (he chuckles briefly) Claire, Claire, Claire with the hair… Ophelia is a child. She has been dominated by powerful men, all of her life, and suddenly they all disappear. Her brother goes to France. Her father is murdered by her boyfriend, and he is shipped off to England. She is alone… for the first time, grieving and heartbroken and guilty, because — as far as she’s concerned — it’s all. Her. Fault. She ignored her brother’s advice and fell in love with Hamlet and now her father is dead and all because of her, and the pain, and the loss and the shame and the guilt, all of this is gnawing away inside this little child’s mind and it comes out as … little… songs. ‘And will he not come again? And will he not come again? No… no… he is dead… My father is dead… and I killed him.’ Okay?
Claire: (nods silently)
Geoffrey: Now, let’s try it again, without the Vietnam flashback.
— Slings & Arrows 1x05, A Mirror Up To Nature