By William Shakespeare
Hamlet has the world at his feet. Young, wealthy and living a hedonistic life studying abroad. Then word reaches him that his father is dead.
Returning home he finds his world is utterly changed, his certainties smashed and his home a foreign land. Struggling to understand his place in a new world order he faces a stark choice. Submit, or rage against the injustice of his new reality.
Simon Godwin (The Two Gentlemen of Verona 2014) directs Paapa Essiedu as Hamlet in Shakespeare’s searing tragedy.
As relevant today as when it was written, Hamlet confronts each of us with the mirror of our own mortality in an imperfect world.
Captured live on stage in Stratford-Upon-Avon and screened at Riverside Theatres.
Classification: E – Exempt from Classification
Distributor: Picturehouse Entertainment
Dates & Times:
Sunday 17 July 1pm
Wednesday 3 August 10am – SCHOOLS SCREENING
Young Hamlet returns home from university to discover the world-shattering news that, not only is his father (Old Hamlet) newly dead, but that his mother, Gertrude, has married Old Hamlet’s brother, Claudius, and that Claudius is now king.The resultant instability has also led to threats of invasion by a solider from a neighbouring state, Fortinbras.
Late one night, the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears to him, accusing Claudius of his murder and urging Hamlet to revenge. This sets in motion a train of events that destroys both family and state.
No longer able to trust his own senses, the loyalty of his old friends, Rosencrantz and Guildernstern, or even the affections of his young love, Ophelia, Hamlet fakes madness in an attempt to provide himself with proof that the ghost is telling the truth. Aided only by his most loyal companion, Horatio, he persuades a travelling band of actors to re-enact the story of his father’s murder in front of Claudius and Gertrude, hoping that Claudius will be so stirred by remorse that he will confess his crime.
During an intense meeting with his mother, Hamlet hears a noise and realises that they are being spied upon. In rage, he stabs the hidden eavesdropper, believing it to be Claudius. Instead his discovers it is the King’s adviser, Polonius, father to both Ophelia and her brother, Laertes. Polonius dies.
Afraid of what Hamlet might do next, Claudius has him arrested and despatched to England under guard, where he has arranged to have Hamlet murdered. Hamlet escapes, returns to his homeland and finally achieves his revenge.
The psychological effects of these upheavals on Hamlet lead to some of the greatest soliloquies in the English language and take the audience deep into the mind of Shakespeare’s most famous protagonist.
Stop reading now if you don’t want to know how it ends…
Ophelia, having been violently rejected by Hamlet, hears that her father has been murdered. She loses her mind and eventually drowns herself. Her brother, Laertes, returns to court at the head of an angry mob, determined to find out the truth. Claudius convinces him that Hamlet is the only guilty party and agrees to help Laertes gain revenge.
On learning of Hamlet’s escape and return to his homeland, Claudius convinces Laertes to challenge Hamlet to a fencing match and advises Laertes on how to kill Hamlet during the duel without arousing suspicion. As a back-up plan, Claudius also poisons a glass of wine which he intends to offer to Hamlet. Gertrude, however, drinks from the glass first and dies.
During the duel, Hamlet is slightly wounded by Laertes, who has tipped his sword with a deadly poison. In the ensuing tussle, the swords get switched and Hamlet wounds Laertes with the poisoned one. Realising that he is about to die, and that Claudius has manipulated the situation, Laertes confesses everything, forgives Hamlet and dies.
As the poison takes hold and he realises that he too is about to die, Hamlet finally carries through his dead father’s wish for revenge. He forces Claudius to drink the remaining poisoned wine, which quickly takes effect.
With his dying breath, Hamlet asks Horatio to ensure that his story is told accurately.
Young Fortinbras arrives at the head of his army, ready to assume control of a state whose royal family has been destroyed by betrayal, murder and revenge.
$15 per student/additional teacher (1 teacher free per 20 students)
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