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Introduction/Scenic and Lighting Design
Like in most Hamlet production, this particular production by Chimes had some similarities as other productions. However, the interesting part about this production is that there was a lot of simplicity in the stage design. Just like most productions of Hamlet, there was a balcony. A temporary staircase was present in order to signify that the balcony was part of the stage and thus part of the play. The balcony was mostly used in the scenes that included the royal palace. The stage had a lot of free space. The stage designer was interested in portraying the nineteenth century stage production look. However, mirrors were part of the stage in order to bring a modernized look.
The mirrors were to signify Shakespeare’s tendency to use mirrors as an object of reflection of the royal family’s characters/lives. There was one couch at one side of the stage, and the staircase was on the opposite side. In order to show the presence of a window, paintings of windows were seen, and curtains were put over them. The rest of the stage was painted in purple, black and white. Purple was used to signify the royal family, and the black was used to signify the dark times in this family. The white paint lightened up the mood. When it came to the lighting design, there was a variation of the blue rays and the lighting up of the whole stage. The blue rays brought out the dark especially since the rest of the stage was dark. It had a very good effect on the ghost scene. More lights were used in order to signify daylight. Red rays were used when there was a bloody scene.
In following other modern productions, the characters wore modern clothes. Hamlet wore a well cut suite, and Ophelia wore a 19th century dress. She also wore high-heeled shoes. She held the hair off her face with pins so that the curls could fall on her back. Gertrude wore long dresses that have a round shape in order to signify royalty. These dresses had a low neckline in order to display her femininity. She occasionally wore a crown. Horatio, Laertes, Rosencratz and Guildenstern wore shirts and trousers with long ‘tails’. Claudius wore a suit. However, he was draped with a long cloak in order to portray the king character. The cloak was purple in color to signify loyalty. The well cut suite worn by Hamlet was to signify the influence he had from abroad. In general, this modern wear, as compared to the traditional wear found in most productions, enables the audience to connect the past and present. Although the story is based on past events, it can be associated with the present. The swords, the shields and other objects were similar to those found in other productions.
The sound is as important to a play as the play itself. The sound was used to portray different emotions, effects, expressions, tones and moods in the play. For the soliloquies, hamlet delivered them as though he was whispering. In surround sound, with the use of a wireless microphone, his voice was amplified to the audience. This implied that the sound was inside Hamlet’s psyche. In order to depict the effect of King Hamlet, an acoustic bass guitar was used. It produced a whirling sound. Wireless microphone effects, which were delayed, were used to intonate the presence of the ghost. There was forty-five minutes of music, which was mostly classical in order to show the various moods. An impression of a crow flying while fighting with a different crow accompanied Ophelia’s burial.
Different actors brought their skill and talent in an interesting manner. The character Osric, which was played by Norman Rodway, was very interesting even though he appeared on stage for a short time. Rodway, brought out the “at you service, ready to serve in whatever way” attitude. Rodway made the audience feel that Osric was the kind of man who could gladly pick his nose the whole night as long as it gave him recognition. Walter Chiari, who played Hamlet’s character, was the centre of attention. He swiftly moved the audience from being horrified, to being angry, to romance and back to vengeance. He brought out the ambiguity found in Hamlet with so much ease one could think he had an ambiguous character in nature. Ingrid Pitt, who played Ophelia, also brought out the character in a unique way. Instead of the disgust towards Ophelia that comes when one reads the book, one felt sorry for the character.
The play Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, revolves around an individual, Prince Hamlet. It revolves around the tragedy that befalls him and his family as he pursues revenge. However, the production focused on something more. It focused on the ecology of consequence where past actions have an effect on the current actions. Consequentially, they also have an effect on the future. In order to portray this, the settings and the costumes were designed to represent the crossroad impression. The audience was able to understand that the decisions made at the crossroad are very significant as they might determine once destiny. The set director was David Leugs, the costume designer was David McCarl, the sound designer was Paul Hustoles, the lighting designer was Steven Smith and the director was Patrick Finn.
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