greenspun.com : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

Okay, that is the question. Also were there any memorable or interesting aspects to the production? I saw the RSC 2002 production at London's Barbican Theatre. It was the complete text. Sam West was playing Hamlet. The stage was totally bare - no set, just the actors - just as Shakespeare intended his plays to be performed. It was the greatest theatre I have seen in my life. The three and a half hours flew by. Hamlet shot Polonius behind the arras (which was a small mobile screen on wheels) with a hand gun. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern turn up to meet Hamlet in II;ii they sat down and smoked a joint which Rosencrantz took out of his pocket. I'll think of other things and add them to this thread. On another note, last November I saw Christopher Eccleston playing Hamlet at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and it was shit. He is the worst stage performer I have ever seen. Ah well.

-- Patrick Walker (criesandwhispers666@yahoo.com), March 03, 2003


Another thing I just thought of, was that during the Polonius/Reynaldo scene, Ophelia was sitting upstage with her back to the audience from the outset. Then, on exit of Reynaldo, Polonius turned and said "Now, Ophelia, what's the matter?", as if she had come running in earlier and had been asked to wait. I liked this as I always found it a bit naff when Ophelia comes running in suddenly with "My Lord, I have been so afrighted"...

-- Patrick Walker (criesandwhispers666@yahoo.com), March 04, 2003.

The Kenneth Branagh's version is the best film of "Hamlet" I've ever seen because this film version is the only one I've ever seen! The words were brought to life and the film was an enjoyable experience. This film brings the modern version of Hamlet to the forefront of our everyday practical life that everyone should be able to relate to. The four hour film was worth every minute. The 70-mm format brought the increased visual clarity to life. The characters that were chosen for this film captivated the ambiance of the delivery, acting, camerawork, music, and resonant concept. Genius! Loved the flashbacks of different scenes, for example, Hamlet and Ophelia's love affair - simply marvelous! Loved It! Thanks Kenneth! Angela.

-- Angela Smith (angcleo@evansinet.com), March 09, 2003.

Yes, it is very good although I meant in theatre.

-- Patrick Walker (criesandwhispers666@yahoo.com), March 11, 2003.

Well, I can tell you the worst that I have seen - a couple of years ago, Kent State University. Terrible. I mean baaaaaaaaaaad. Now, I know that KSU isn't the Globe, but these were professional actors and serious acting students and there was an admission fee.

Hint - if the audience is laughing at the high, squeaky voice of your Ghost, it's time to rethink things. Oh, and when Horatio indicates that the sun is rising, that's a perfect lighting cue, folks (but nope, completely missed it - black as night - boo).

In the end, the characters could not be killed off quickly enough for me. Actually, it was so bad that the people I went with couldn't stand to stay for the whole thing - I thought maybe it was an off night, so I went back alone a second night (no one would come with me after hearing about the first trip!), convinced that things would be better. They were not. Bad. Bad. Bad.

To confess, I am not one for live theater, but Hamlet is Hamlet, after all....

Those KSU folks may have just turned me off to live theater forever....

-- Casey (mikken@neo.rr.com), March 15, 2003.

Well, as a poor A-Level student, i had no choice but to sit through Christopher Eccleston's performance. Ok, i'm young and i might not be a theatre critic, but i know what looks and works on stage. This didn't do much for me except be the basis for a 10 page essay i am currently writing! And i must say, there is only so much you can write about shit before you start to believe it! Stick to Derek Bentley love! x

-- Kat Smith (running_mouth@hotmail.com), June 10, 2003.

Crikey! I also saw Chris Eccleston's Hamlet (at the West Yorkshire Playhouse - I travelled all the way up to Leeds from harlow in Essex to see this) and I can honestly say that it was the fucking WORST piece of professional theatre that I have ever seen in my life! I wanted to stand up after scene two and shout "RUBBISH!" God, it was bad. That prize-pum really didn't have a clue. The production itself was utterly bad - not just Eccleston. It was SO dead. And, do you remember the ghost sounding like he had bad asthma? The easily pleased audience all seemed to lap it up, however. No doubt all there to see their fave actor of bad TV drama like Son Of God. Idiots.

-- Patrick Walker (criesandwhispers666@yahoo.com), June 11, 2003.

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