Hamlet AO5 – different productions and viewpoints

William Hazlitt thought Edmund Kean’s role as Hamlet (1814-32, London) to be portrayed as not enough of the “gentleman and scholar”
Colin Keith-Johnston’s portrayal of Hamlet, 1925 un-poetic and naturalistic→appealed to the mood of post-war disillusionment among the young
1989 RSC Hamlet, directed by Ron Daniels atmosphere of mental institution
Big woollen curtain, envelops Ophelia Yuri Lyubimov (1971-80)
Peter Hall’s production(1965) politically Rebel like spirit of ’60s, H as counter culture. Criticised conservative establishment
Peter Hall presentation of ghost giant, helmeted 10 ft shadow. When Hamlet says ‘this was a man’ to Horatio, we see the other side to the Oedipus complex: less jealous of C than of his father’s stature. Ghost’s voice=hollow, beneath the stage
“Hamlet is the real villain” Samuel West, acted as Hamlet in 2001 RSC production. Claudius presented as humane, witty and generous.
Post Stalin production in which Claudius’ speech is read to the people, not by him Grigori Kozintsev (1964)
How does it echo Stalin’s rule? Showing Denmark to be a prison. Hamlet only leaves at the end, mortally wounded to die by the crashing waves of the sea, image of freedom throughout play. Huge statues of Claudius
Laurence Olivier’s 1948 production Gertrude’s chamber- vaginal shaped canopy Tracking of camera often returns to shot of back of Olivier’s head→show exploration of Hamlet’s thoughts. Gertrude suspects poison in the wine, drinks anyway out of defiance vs. Claudius.
Kenneth Branagh (1996) Ideas of blurred lines between public and private life (biggest e.g.= Ophelia: secret lover of H→betrayed partner and daughter→very public psychological breakdown- conjures images of Diana)⇒royal family becomes a symbol for the fate of the family unit in society.
Branagh setting Blenheim Palace
How does he present OH as a tyrant? Tearing down of his statues echoes that of the end of Cold War in Soviet Republics
1980 Richard Eyre Hamlet is possessed by the ghost
Painting of mousetrap scene with distressed Gertrude Edwin Austin Abbey (1897) ‘The Play Scene in Hamlet’
Bradley on why Hamlet procrastinates ” a moral repulsion to the deed” of killing Claudius
G Wilson Knight view of Claudius “a good gentle king”
G Wilson Knight on Hamlet evil “Hamlet is an element of evil in the state of Denmark”
Samuel West view of Hamlet “Hamlet is the real villain”
David Garrick, the predominant actor-manager of the eighteenth century His ‘Hamlet’ was v focused on Hamlet as a dutiful son to his father’s/ghost’s wishes
Edmund Kean as Hamlet Hamlet the lover: eager love rather than terror on meeting the Ghost and his love for Ophelia remained evident even though he was forced to reject her
Gabrielle Dane, 2013 “Ophelia is an asset to Polonius, a commodity to be disposed of”

You Might Also Like