Thursday, January 30, 2020
Review of Hamlet, performed in the lowry, salford quays Essay Example for Free
Review of Hamlet, performed in the lowry, salford quays Essay 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 Hamlets 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. The costumes worn by some characters appeared unusual; the ghost king (although written to be Norwegian) wore a Samurai costume, and the entertainers wore costumes relating to the native kabuki or no theatre of Japan. Shakespeare would probably have used clowns or a similar type of act to demonstrate the murder of Hamlets father. The reason for this stems from the Japanese director, Ninagawa, who used his own culture to influence some aspects of the play. This was interesting when it came to the setting of the play, as it did not tie with the written adaptation which -as mentioned earlier- was supposed to be based in Norway, and there were no references to this. Other costumes were used well to represent different circles within the play- royalty and those associated were dressed in red: a royal colour. Ophelia and her family originally dressed in white, possibly symbolising purity and truth, until Polonius joins the King and Queen and also dresses in red. Horatio dresses in similar plain black clothing to Hamlet, but wore a blue scarf that could have been used to differentiate him from the royal family. The two scholars that appear at the Kings request both wear grey, high-class outfits and look very much like scholars. The final groups of people to explore are the Polish army, the leader of which wore a very modern leather coat- a mark of high status and power. The major costume changes that occur are when Gertrude asks to speak to Hamlet- at which point she wears a light blue, flowing gown, representing her purity and innocence, and the underwear worn by Ophelia, showing her in a dishevelled and unkempt state. The main sound effects occurred at the beginning of each act; rolling thunder, which accompanied the swaying lights. Music was used namely in the performance by the Kabuki theatre. During Ophelias madness, she vocalises some sonnets written by Shakespeare. Songs are also sung by the gravediggers, although they feature only for a short while and do not contribute much to the play as a whole. 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. Due to the barbed wire on the stage, some of the movement seemed restricted, such as the sword fight between Hamlet and Laertes, where it appeared that they accidentally knocked the wire causing it to shake and distract the attention of the audience. The body language of each character was questionable: Gertrude and the King both had over-exaggerated arm movements, whereas Hamlet appeared not to over-use large movements such as pointing and flailing arms. Polonius had an interesting twitch in his right arm, which at first appeared to be nervousness of the actor, but on further investigation, was an intentional manoeuvre used to depict his slightly psychotic character. Ophelia created madness in her character after the death of her father by moving in a lyrical fashion, as though not really aware of her motion a successful tactic. Directors will use the versatility of the Hamlet script to create different relationships between characters, either successfully or unsuccessfully. Ninagawa made the following choices: The relationship between Polonius and Ophelia was interesting, because although at the beginning of the play Polonius chose to treat his daughter with disdain, Ophelia was quite obviously very disturbed and depressed about his death. This was perhaps conveying the true to life concept that one will love family no matter what the situation. Another relationship including Ophelia is the intimacy between herself and her brother without knowing the characters, the audience may have been fooled into thinking that Ophelia and Laertes are lovers, as they kiss. The kiss appears to have a romantic nature rather than the kiss the audience would expect within a family kiss. This could result in the audience being ambivalent about the relationship between Ophelia and Laertes. Ninagawa does not pursue the romantic relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet or Claudius and Gertrude, which the audience would expect to see some evidence of- at one point, the actor of Gertrude tried to embrace Claudius who pushed her away, and there was very little contact between Hamlet and Ophelia. Hamlet is an interesting character within himself, showing signs of contempt towards other characters, being indecisive and uncaring. 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 Gertrudes 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.