Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Elise's Performance Analysis of Hamlet

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Overall, the National Theatre Live was phenomenal. The actors performed stupendously, and I particularly enjoyed the depiction of soliloquies. Rather than completely isolating Hamlet, his thoughts are shown as happening simultaneously with a slowed-down version of reality as depicted by the characters around him. This helped the audience maintain Hamlet's feelings and actions in context.

The only trouble I encountered in this version of Hamlet was the unsuccessful attempt to incorporate different eras into the costuming. Horatio appeared to be a modern-day hipster, Ophelia seemed stuck in the sixties, while Gertrude stuck with a classical, timeless look. I spent so much time trying to decipher the visual clues (a camera, old-fashioned telephones, etc...) that it detracted from the performance. While I normally enjoy "modernizations" of classic literature, I feel that Hamlet's portrayal was only half-hearted.

However, as I mentioned before, this was the only complaint I had; all other aspects of the play were wonderful.


  1. Elise, I also really liked the time-motion slow downs and speed ups that happened during the play. I also agree with your assessment that there did seem to be some anachronisms when it came to costuming. But you know...that could be the point. Maybe they were trying to make a statement that Hamlet could exist in all different time periods simultaneously...an interesting thing to think about!

  2. Elise, I was curious about the costuming too. Mostly with Horatio because his clothes seemed very modern. The other costumes I felt were fitting (Gertrude is a queen so it would make sense for her costumes to be classical). I also appreciate Leah's comment about the possibility that Hamlet can exist in multiple time periods. I find this interesting because usually plays have a fixed time period, and the audience may or may not feel any relation to the play and their own time. Interesting thoughts.

  3. I loved the slowed down background for the soliloquies! I thought that was very clever, and very well done by the participants. I actually enjoyed the quirky costuming. The fact that Horatio was out of sync with that other eras made it more interesting to me. I like Leah's thought. I thought placing the setting in a time period closer to ours made it even easier to relate to the characters.