Posts Tagged ‘Hamlet’

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Hamlet at the Almeida: A review by @EmiGarside

April 2, 2017

Hamlet Almeida

A review by Dr Emily Garside

Hamlet is a play that is familiar even to those with no direct experience of the play – whether it’s a general knowledge of a much-adapted plot or the countless lines that have made it into common usage. So it is an achievement of a director and cast to not only make the production feel fresh and innovative but also for lines so often uttered they are virtually cliché to sound new.

Robert Icke, former artistic director of Headlong, now associate of the Almeida inserted new life into Oresteia last year, and it’s in a similar vein he has approached Hamlet, starring Andrew Scott as the Danish Prince. The production is modern dress and makes use of video technology but it’s period is indistinct, at times feeling in the present moment, others having a slightly futuristic air.

The major change it feels Icke has made is a shift in pace to the expected ebb and flow of the piece. Gaining infamy for a nearly four hour running time, it doesn’t feel like the theatrical marathon it is. There is a natural pace to the overall piece, and within each scene, down to each line that Icke seems to have taken apart and put together again. Although the first segment is familiar in its staging, approach and length, there is a clattering towards a finale that despite some additions – some from the first Quarto lines, some dialogues additions to staging – that give this take a freshness.

The contemporary staging – so often nothing more than some suits and contemporary furniture – is woven into the staging effectively. The play opens with news footage of King Hamlet’s funeral, and across the play video is used, from a Skype meeting with the ambassadors, to filming The Mousetrap, through to war footage and final evocative images that show integration and addition of film and stage at their most effective. Most engaging of this is the staging of play-within-a-play The Mousetrap in which when Claudius storms out, disrupting both the staged performance and the filming of the royal family, the ‘Pause’ created is so realistic for a moment it feels like there is something genuinely wrong. These elements of meta, thrown back onto the audience across the play, make for an engaging and challenging reading of the well-worn Hamlet.

Of course, any Hamlet is only ever as good as the actor playing the title role. And again, Andrew Scott brings to light elements of the part that even in those moments that usually feel so familiar, there is a different slant to Scott’s performance that creates a freshness. The early and end scenes are emotionally charged and made for the most moving portrayals of the part in memory. In the early scenes, Scott veers from quietly grief stricken to unhinged and over the top from moment to moment. Scott’s balancing of the two elements of grief stricken and depressed works, and although at times the moments of exuberant grief and madness may seem ridiculous, it is because Hamlet himself is indeed at times ridiculous. The intimacy of the venue works in favour of this portrayal as well, with the loud, abrasive Hamlet feeling too close to be comfortable, and the quiet, reflective Hamlet feeling intimate and moving.

Robert Icke’s production has successfully re-invigorated Hamlet in his staging, using the contemporary elements rather than simply creating a backdrop of them. Meanwhile Scott’s Hamlet offers a different take on the classic role, and perhaps one unexpected from the actor. He is a contemplative, but emotional Hamlet, caught in a changing world on both a personal and political level. It’s an intellectual challenging Hamlet for the audience, but also one which resonates with the underlying emotion of the piece.

Visit the Almeida website

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Clwyd Theatr Cymru: Hamlet (in Cardiff)

January 13, 2015

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Tuesday 10 – Saturday 14 March 2015

Evenings 7.30pm
Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday Matinees 2.30pm

By William Shakespeare
Director Terry Hands
Designer Mark Bailey
Composer Colin Towns
 

 “… to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them.”

Making their annual visit to the New Theatre, Clwyd Theatr Cymru presents Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Directed by the company’s Artistic Director and Director Emeritus of the RSC, Terry Hands, this new production will once again showcase the finest in Welsh acting talent.

A psychological thriller, murder mystery, philosophical drama – Shakespeare’s most famous play.

Find out more here.

 

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Richard Burton’s Hamlet Screening

March 6, 2014

Tuesday 18 March 7pm

Richard Burton makes his debut in the theatre that bears his name and for one night only! Marking the 50th anniversary of Burton’s acclaimed Hamlet on Broadway and 30 years since his untimely passing, the Royal Welsh College pays tribute to a Welsh Great by presenting the first screening in Wales of Sir John Gielgud’s classic 1964 theatrical production. Filmed during a Broadway performance for release in US cinemas, this is a Hamlet acted in rehearsal clothes, stripped of all extraneous trappings with Richard Burton at the very height of his acting powers.

Presented by kind permission of Sally Burton, Onward Production Ltd. and Paul Brownstein Productions

Introduced by Andrew Miller

Venue: Richard Burton Theatre

Tickets: £15 £12 concessions
Events booked online are subject to a £1.75 transaction charge

Running time: 3 and a half hours (plus interval)
Events booked online are subject to a £1.75 transaction charge

http://www.rwcmd.ac.uk/whats_on/events/richard_burtons_hamlet.aspx

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Shakespeare at the Cinema – in Cardiff

October 14, 2013

Romeo and Juliet

11-17th October Cineworld Cardiff

Carlo Carlei Production (2013)

A stunning new version of Shakespeare’s timeless romantic tragedy from the creator of ‘Downton Abbey’. The Montagues and Capulets are at war, frequently brawling in the streets of Verona. So when Romeo (Douglas Booth) and Juliet (Hailee Steinfeld) fall for each other, life proves difficult for these star-crossed lovers. Friar Laurence (Paul Giamatti) helps them to marry in secret, but the enmity between their families is too strong for a reconciliation. The greatest love story of all time, Shakespeare’s 16th century classic has been reinterpreted time and again. But there hasn’t been a faithful version since Zeffirelli’s 1968 Oscar winner. Now lauded ‘Downton Abbey’ creator Julian Fellowes has scripted this new adaptation, which makes exceptional use of its gorgeous Italian locations. The to-die-for cast is led by Hailee Steinfeld, who was Oscar nominated for her performance in ‘True Grit’, and Douglas Booth, who played Pip in the BBC’s recent adaptation of ‘Great Expectations’.

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Hamlet

 22nd October Cineworld Cardiff

National Theatre Production (2010)

Rory Kinnear takes the title role in Nicholas Hytner’s chilling modern production of Shakespeare’s great tragedy. Hamlet (Rory Kinnear), the Prince of Denmark, is haunted by the ghost of his murdered father. Consumed by grief, he vows revenge upon the man he holds responsible. That’s his uncle Claudius (Patrick Malahide), who went on to claim both the throne and Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude (Clare Higgins). ‘Hamlet’ is one of the Bard’s most frequently staged plays. But National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner’s 2010 modern-dress production offered a dynamic new interpretation, giving the play a bold psychological and political context. His Elsinore is a tyrannical police state where every move is subject to surveillance. Olivier Award-winning actor Rory Kinnear took the role of Hamlet to great acclaim. The Times described his performance as “superb in its resonance and intelligence”. This HD broadcast returns to Cineworld as part of the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Find out more here.

(with thanks to Ceri Sullivan for alerting me to these screenings)

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Hamlet In Cardiff This Week #Shakespeare

March 12, 2013

Everyman Theatre is proud to present Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

A play of stature and renown. Banned from day one when the bard was told to ‘clean up his act.’ Considered morally and politically offensive. With its secret, midnight burials, secret treaties mirroring a totalitarian state and inciting the murder of a tyrant.

Staged as a group of wild, travelling players drawn from diverse countries, bursting into the market place of Elsinore.

“Hamlet is the play.
…and so shall you hear
of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts
Of accidental judgements, casual slaughter.
All this I can truly deliver.”

In true tradition “The Players” will commence at 7pm in the theatre foyer to regale you with European Singing and Folk tales followed with a pre-show at 7.20pm in the theatre

This production is directed by Gerry Watson.

Hamlet runs at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff from 12-16 March 2013. Performances start at 7.30pm with tickets priced at £10 (£8 concessions available for 2pm Saturday matinee only)

Find out more here.

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The Hamlet Zone: Reworking Hamlet for European Cultures

January 14, 2013

This book, which follows from a conference at Cardiff University, is now in the Cardiff University Library.

“The book examines how the myth of Hamlet has crossed back and forth over Europe’s linguistic borders for four hundred years, repeatedly reinvigorated by being bent to specific geo-political and cultural locations. The enquiries in this book show how, in the process of translation, adaptation and reinventing, Hamlet has become the common cultural currency of Europe.”

Find out more here.

From the back cover:
“A brilliantly lively volume which recontextualizes Hamlet from Portuguese theatre, to Russian ballet, Hungarian poetry, Spanish exile writing, German philosophical criticism, Swedish political drama and radical multimedia experiment. This constantly surprising and inspiring volume demonstrates, if there were any doubt, that Shakespeare is still a vital part of our global intellectual currency and Hamlet is at the very centre of the modern European imagination.” – Prof. Karen Leeder, New College, University of Oxford

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New Book: Posthumanist Shakespeares

August 24, 2012

Laurent Milesi (Cardiff University) and Mareile Pfannebecker (PhD, Cardiff University) have chapters in a recently published book: Posthumanist Shakespeares

“Posthumanist Shakespeares is a critical investigation of the relationship between early modern culture and contemporary political and technological changes concerning the idea of the ‘human.’ The volume covers the tragedies King Lear and Hamlet in particular, but also provides posthumanist readings of The Merchant of Venice, Measure for Measure, Coriolanus, The Winter’s Tale, Timon of Athens and Pericles. The value of the collection lies in extending a posthumanist paradigm to interpretations of Shakespeare, and in demonstrating how posthumanism can be in turn read back by Shakespeare’s work. What emerges from Posthumanist Shakespeares is that the encounter between posthumanism and Shakespeare studies, far from being unlikely, is productive for both fields and can lead to a critical rethinking of both, recasting questions concerning time, life, death, science, technology, and the nature of the human.”

Mareile Pfannebecker, “Cyborg Coriolanus / Monster Body Politic”

Laurent Milesi, “(Post-)Heideggerian Hamlet

Visit the publisher’s page here.

Read the introduction here.

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