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Hamlet Rsc


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#21 peggs

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:46 PM

View PostLynette, on 29 March 2013 - 09:54 PM, said:

You ain't seen it done right. The gravediggers are v important part of the play, counterpoint to what comes afterwards, v subtle stuff. Don't ask for an essay. ;-)
So I'm presuming this production doesn't do it right either.
Really? I've always been tempted to switch of in this scene and in Macbeth's porter scene, clearly too subtle for me. Too tired to think it through now but will bear in mind what you've said.

#22 Epicoene

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 07:22 AM

In the Michael Boyd one Hicks played the ghost, the player King and the gravedigger and made an interesting link between the three.

#23 Lynette

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:39 AM

View Postpeggs, on 01 April 2013 - 09:46 PM, said:


Really? I've always been tempted to switch of in this scene and in Macbeth's porter scene, clearly too subtle for me. Too tired to think it through now but will bear in mind what you've said.


Both scenes are about breaking the tension ( cleopatra and the guy who brings the snake similar scene) and holding up the action so creating tension too - rhythm. And each scene underscores the themes. I learned more about the Porter recently after reading about equivocation which was reviled by ordinary people in Shakespeare's time. To do with religious controversy. The doubling of the actors ( see above post) adds something no doubt.

But here is Hamlet facing the physical facts of death as opposed to the theoretical 'to be or not to be' speech and death being demystified yet respected in its practicalities - the discussion on the length of time it takes for a body to rot is almost a scientific treatise. Then the tragedy of death arrives, a beloved young woman tragically dead possibly by her own hand,  and the play rolls on to its inevitable conclusion. I think the use of the flash back, Hamlet seeing the skull of Yorick , is brilliant and you could also say that the scene is a flash forward to when Hamlet himself will be 'just' a skeleton. ( the Branagh movie makes this clear)

This gravediggers scene is meant to be funny- that joke about people in England being mad works today as it always must have. But I have seen it played badly and sometimes omitted. My view is that if a scene looks hard, look it at more and don't take it out or do it bonkers style unless you have really thought about it.

#24 peggs

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 08:29 PM

Thanks Lynette, interesting points, I think i watch Shakespeare just as a story, this happens, then this happens etc rather than think why do you get this scene there exactly, oh well good another reason to see some performances.

#25 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 09:28 PM

View Postpeggs, on 02 April 2013 - 08:29 PM, said:

Thanks Lynette, interesting points, I think i watch Shakespeare just as a story, this happens, then this happens etc rather than think why do you get this scene there exactly, oh well good another reason to see some performances.

Yes, I always watch Shakespeare as a story- one (rather lame) reason why I like Hamlet is because there a quite a few good plot points (or markers as I think of them). But now that I see productions which are my third or fourth reading of the play, I can appreciate the differences, interpretations and intricacies, and, dare I say, understand it.



#26 peggs

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 10:43 AM

View PostPharaoh, on 02 April 2013 - 09:28 PM, said:

Yes, I always watch Shakespeare as a story- one (rather lame) reason why I like Hamlet is because there a quite a few good plot points (or markers as I think of them). But now that I see productions which are my third or fourth reading of the play, I can appreciate the differences, interpretations and intricacies, and, dare I say, understand it.
yeah it's one reason why i look back at what shakespeare was reduced to at school with some despair, each play was about one thing, lear was something to do with a fatal flaw, bad decision making i seem to reason, macbeth was ambition - as if anything in life can be reduced to one simple thing. So yes PN2 with a bit of luck each time you had a little bit more to your understanding.

#27 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:27 AM

Like also reduced Hamlet  to a play about grief. Yes, it's about grief, but a whole lot more too.

And I went through GCSE, where I studied Macbeth, without ever seeing the play performed once. Just the odd video, and not even the McKellen/Dench one! In fact, this production will be my first ever Macbeth, a good 5 years late.



#28 Lynette

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:45 PM

Sad, Shakespeare still not taught well. What makes me smile is that often the lovely rude jokes and references are totally ignored by teachers and wouldn't you think they would engage the attention of wayward adolescents?

#29 Whenindisgrace

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:17 PM

View PostPharaoh, on 03 April 2013 - 11:27 AM, said:

Like also reduced Hamlet  to a play about grief. Yes, it's about grief, but a whole lot more too.

And I went through GCSE, where I studied Macbeth, without ever seeing the play performed once. Just the odd video, and not even the McKellen/Dench one! In fact, this production will be my first ever Macbeth, a good 5 years late.

These days with controlled assessments you might only read two scenes of the play, believe it or not.  A friend of mine was told on no account to show them the whole play - just concentrate on the scenes relevant to the question asked in the assessment, which, of course, the pupils know and prepare in advance.

#30 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 01:43 PM

View PostWhenindisgrace, on 03 April 2013 - 01:17 PM, said:

These days with controlled assessments you might only read two scenes of the play, believe it or not.  A friend of mine was told on no account to show them the whole play - just concentrate on the scenes relevant to the question asked in the assessment, which, of course, the pupils know and prepare in advance.

That was the case with SATs, when Yr9s took them. I did Richard III, but we never went further than Act 1 Scene 1, as that was all the exam required. Can't say it did much for my understanding of Shakespeare, though they did love you to write about how the play would've been performed at the orignal Globe. That - and the price of groundling tickets then - was deemed of very high importance.






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