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Review Of Hamlet, Performed In The Lowry, Salford Quays

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Introduction

Review Of Hamlet, Performed In The Lowry, Salford Quays On Wednesday 3rd of November, the A-level drama groups from Queens Park High School went to see a version of Hamlet performed in the Salford Quays Lowry theatre. Directed by Japanese Yukio Ninagawa, he has added Japanese influences into the traditional Shakespearean tragedy. The design of the set used artistic impressionism: The barbed wire represented the conflict present within his mind. As well as this it was a useful medium to cordon certain areas of the stage. The light bulbs also representing conflict, which are regularly used in Shakespearean plays; in this case used (as with the barbed wire) to evince the conflict beginning in Hamlet's mind. The light bulbs would alight and sway to signify a monologue, and were also a type of imagery demonstrating the mind- the light bulb is commonly used to mark an idea. The doors around the edge of stage were used to replicate the idea of an open space, and gave the stage an incredible sense of vastness. By using these doors and certain lighting, the director was able to indicate different times of day: during the scene with Hamlet and the ghost, the light gradually moved around all of the doors and successfully created the feeling of a rising sun. ...read more.

Middle

Overall, the design of the play was well thought out, and the director was able to use the space, lighting, sound and costume to create a well-devised and creative atmosphere. In comparison the setting and design of the play, the acting did not contribute in such an involving way. All characters were able to project their voices, which made the audience able to competently hear what the characters where saying. But emotion and expression were lacking in many of the characters e.g. one of the most well known lines of the play 'dear Jochum, I knew him well' -spoken by Hamlet- was rushed and miscued. In a similar way, the characters of the King and Gertrude were greatly over-acted. The actors who demonstrated the best character development and realism were Polonius and Horatio. During the scene where Polonius 'forgets what he was going to say', many members of the audience believed that he had forgotten his lines, inducing laughter and amusement; exactly the reaction that Shakespeare intended. Horatio gave an excellent performance at the end of the play, producing 'real tears' and a very convincing sadness at the death of his best friend Hamlet. The performances of both of these characters were consistent throughout the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is within the monologues that the audience is exposed to the real Hamlet, which Ninagawa has chosen to portray as acting madness, as opposed to becoming crazed. The final relationship being considered is that of Hamlet and Gertrude. At the beginning of the play, the actors did not express sort of bond, and the first contact they appear to have is in Gertrude's closet, where she is moderately sexually harassed by Hamlet. This could have been executed in a much more perverse way, which fortunately the director did not choose to do. The acting in this version of Hamlet leaves a lot to be desired as lines were forgotten, words were misused and the some actors seemed lacking in direction. I feel that having heard the story of Hamlet after having seen the play, there was much that I misunderstood from watching and listening to the characters. Although true to the text, some of the words were spoken without expression and misinterpretation became easy attention lapsed. Having spoken to other audience members, certain key characters became easy to listen to - despite the difficult context - and even enjoy. The set and costume was admired for the provocative nature and was a success in almost all aspects. Overall, the play captured most moments that were significant either with the use of design or the skill of the able and talented actors. ...read more.

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