Category Archives: Hamlet

11 questions with the cast of After Miss Julie: Polly Frame

Next up in our After Miss Julie cast is Polly Frame.

Tell us about your character.
I play Christine, cook of the household and unofficially engaged to John. She does a mean kidneys on toast, can smoke and sleep for England and is as at home in church as trading on the black market. In the next life, she deserves better!

Favourite word?
Puddle (thanks to Patrick Marber for that one).

Proudest moment?
Every time anyone I love does something brilliant, which happily happens quite often.

If you could have a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Either books for a bit of peace and quiet or my friends and I could call it a party.

If 28 hour days existed, what would you do with the extra four hours?
I’d like to sleep for the extra 4, seeing as I’m not much good at it in the standard 24 hour format.

Favourite holiday?
Mexico a few years ago.

Weirdest quirk?
Get funny about socks on inside out.

Favourite play?
The New Electric ballroom by Enda Walsh.

If you had one super power, what would it be?
Flying of course, who wouldn’t want to?

Do you have any regrets?
I’ve had a few….

Favourite midnight snack?
Kidneys on toast of course.

After Miss Julie ends in 3 days!

11 questions with the cast of After Miss Julie: Kieran Bew

First up in our After Miss Julie  cast series is Kieran Bew. You may recognise him from the acclaimed Reasons to be Pretty (Almeida). He’s also been in Almeida’s The Knot of the Heart and Trevor Nunn’s production of Richard II at the Old Vic). Films he’s been in includes Green Street, Alien vs Predator, King Lear and recent British indie film 1-2-3-4.

Tell us about your character.
John is an ambitious, dedicated, butler and valet. He works on Miss Julie’s estate for her father.

Favourite word?
Crocodile

Proudest moment?
Winning the British cadet epee championship.

If you could have a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Parsons Terrier puppies.

If 28 hour days existed, what would you do with the extra four hours?
Talk to my family.

Favourite holiday?
Greece with my lady.

Weirdest quirk?
I’m clumsy… I could trip over my feet in bed…

If you had one super power, what would it be?
To shape shift. I believe this will cover a wide range of abilities.

Do you have any regrets?
Piano… I should have learned to play the piano… (looks out of window wistfully).

Favourite midnight snack?
Roast potatoes with mature cheese.

Since working on After Miss Julie (Classics for a New Climate)…
I turn lights off when I leave rooms now – before the production I often left a room well-lit.

After Miss Julie starts tomorrow and we’ve added an extra week of performances so it now plays until 14 April. Buy your tickets now >>

Congrats nominees!

Hamlet has been nominated for Best Shakespearean Production for the 2012 What’s On Stage awards! Plus Kyle Soller, seen in our productions of Government Inspector and The Glass Menagerie, has been nominated for London Newcomer of the Year.

Separately, Michael Sheen and Bill Mitchell’s The Passion for the National Theatre of Wales has been nominated for Theatre Event of the Year.

Congratulations to all the nominees. We have our fingers crossed for you.

11 questions with the cast of Hamlet: James Clyde

Next in our Hamlet cast series is James Clyde. You may have seen him in National Theatre’s Twelfth Night; Shakespeare’s Globe’s Macbeth; RSC’s Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night; Trafalgar Studios’ Jane Eyre; or on TV: ITV’s Croupier, Anonymous and Above Suspicion; BBC’s Between the Lines and New Tricks. He plays Claudius.

What do you like about your character in Hamlet?
His mind.

Favourite word?
Neutrino

Proudest moment?
Ruby’s birth

If you could have a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Oxygen

If 28 hour days existed, what would you do with the extra four hours?
Walk, furiously

Favourite holiday?
Iona, Scotland

Weirdest quirk?
Watching rabbits on YouTube

Favourite play?
Macbeth

If you had one super power, what would it be?
Teleportation

Favourite midnight snack?
Anchovies

Day seats are available for all remaining performances of Hamlet. Tickets from £10, bought in-person on the day of the performance from 9.30am.

Hamlet Resource Pack: Ten Facts About Hamlet

Hamlet Resource Pack: Ten Facts About Hamlet

Welcome to the Resource Pack for Hamlet which runs at the Young Vic Theatre from 28 October 2011 to 21 January 2012. Resource packs are created for the majority of Young Vic shows, to provide an insight into the plays we produce and how we produce them. Please check back for interviews with the cast and creative team.

The Hamlet resource pack has been written by Lootie Johansen-Bibby.

Enjoy!
Taking Part Department

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TEN FACTS ABOUT HAMLET

1.  Hamlet is the most widely performed play in the world.  It is estimated that it is being performed somewhere every single minute of every day.

2. Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play and uncut would take between 4 and 5 hours to perform. Hamlet has 1530 lines, the most of any character in Shakespeare.

3. One of the earliest re-mounts of Hamlet was on board a ship called The Dragon, anchored of the coast of Sierra Leone in 1607.

4. It is believed that Shakespeare appeared in the play as the Ghost at the Globe.

5. In the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production of Hamlet in 2009, David Tennant used a real skull as a prop in the gravedigger scene. The skull had belonged to the composer André Tchaikowsky who bequeathed it to the RSC when he died in 1982 ‘for use in theatrical performance’. David Tennant was the first actor to use the skull on stage in a performance.

6. The first actor to play Hamlet was Richard Burbage, the lead actor in Shakespeare’s company, The King’s Men.

7. The castle in which the play is set really exists. It is called Kronborg castle and was built in the Danish port of Helsingør in 1420s by the Danish king, Eric of Pomerania.

8. At the end of every play performed at the Globe, four dancers, two dressed as women, would perform an upbeat, bawdy song and dance routine called a jig – even if the play was a tragedy like Hamlet.

9. Where now we say ‘I’m going to see a play’ in Elizabethan times, people talked about ‘going to hear a play’.

10. Shakespeare advertises his own work in the play.  When Polonius interrupts the players and proclaims that he enacted Julius Caesar and was ‘accounted a good actor’ in Act 3 scene 2, he is reminding the audience that he will soon be starring in Shakespeare’s production of Julius Caesar.

To Win or Not To Win FREE Hamlet Tickets?

Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet or another? I ask the average non- or semi-Shakespeare fan what their favourite story from arguably our most influential author is, and it usually has some correlation with what they studied back in the classroom.

If that is the case then I guess mine should be Macbeth, following my captivating performance as Macduff in Drama Studies (Year 9). My teacher (a harsh critic) called me “brittle”, whilst of course my mother found my display worthy of an Oscar (and ice-cream on the way home).

Nevertheless, I seem to lean towards Hamlet for some reason. I never studied it, or acted in it (‘brittle boy’ never made it past Year 9 Drama) and when I mention it to my inner circle (which consists of some very borderline Shakespeare fans), I get that timeless query: “Is that the one with ‘To be or not to be…’” Despite that lack of inspiration, a combination of internet exploring, coupled with DVDs watching many from Sir Lawrence Olivier to Kenneth Branagh take on the role of the Prince of Denmark drowning in a sea of treachery, revenge, incest, moral corruption, madness and revenge means this classic, powerful tragic tale still gets my vote every time.

That’s explains my personal excitement, and why I can rest assured a mouth-watering on stage adaptation with Michael Sheen (Underworld, Twilight, Frost/Nixon, Kingdom of Heaven) in lead role, awaits those lining up to watch Hamlet at the Young Vic Theatre this winter.

And for any teenagers around the UK (some of which may be shifting through Shakespeare for their new year exams), the Young Vic + Penguin’s Spinebreakers Hamlet Script Writing Competition is your time to showcase your own play-writing skills for a chance to experience Hamlet full on. This is not only a fun opportunity, but a chance to step into Shakespeare’s shoes and inspire David Lan (Young Vic’s Artistic Director) with your own storytelling on the themes of ‘madness and revenge’. 2 winners in return will receive a FREE pair of tickets to watch Hamlet at the Young Vic as well as autographed posters and programmes, with 13 runners-up getting a Spinebreakers special edition of the book.

The Hamlet Script-Writing Competition runs until 9 January 2012. Enter here.

From Dwain Lucktung, editor of Penguin’s Spinebreakers.co.uk


11 questions with the cast of Hamlet: Pip Donaghy

First up in our Hamlet cast series is Pip Donaghy! He plays Barnardo, Player King and the Gravedigger.

What do you like about your character in Hamlet?
My first players’ frailty

Favourite word?
Bollocks!

Proudest moment?
My God! I’m a dad!

If you could have a room full of any one thing, what would it be?
Light

If 28 hour days existed, what would you do with the extra four hours?
Sleep

Favourite holiday?
Applecross – Scottish Highlands

Weirdest quirk?
Concentrating on being in the present

Favourite play?
Juno and the Paycock

If you had one super power, what would it be?
Flying

Do you have any regrets?
Not playing Falstaff

Favourite midnight snack?
Cheese on toast

Day seats are available for all remaining performances of Hamlet. Tickets from £10, bought in-person on the day of the performance from 9.30am.

Hamlet Resource Pack: An Introduction

Welcome to the Resource Pack for Hamlet which runs at the Young Vic Theatre from 28 October 2011 to 21 January 2012. Resource packs are created for the majority of Young Vic shows, to provide an insight into the plays we produce and how we produce them. Please check back for interviews with the cast and creative team.

Enjoy!
Taking Part Department

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HAMLET: AN INTRODUCTION

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of the most famous plays in the world.  It has been translated and performed all over the world, on stage and on screen.  Quotations from the play have become embedded in the language we use today: ‘neither a borrow nor a lender be’, ‘suit the action to the word, the word to the action’, ‘to be or not to be’, ‘the lady doth protest too much methinks’ – all came from Hamlet.  It has been a major influence on culture and on literature, from numerous critical studies, to new plays and stories based on the characters. And, for an actor, young Hamlet is a part that everyone seems to aspire to play.

The play was written sometime between 1599 and 1601.  It is difficult to say precisely when, because publishing worked in a very different way then to now.  It was not so easy to simply type, print and copy; all the texts would have been written by hand.

Three early versions of Hamlet exist, called the First Quarto, the Second Quarto and the First Folio .  The versions are all slightly different – some lines have been added or omitted, and some words are different.  The first quarto of Hamlet was published in 1603 by Nicholas Ling and John Trundell, and printed by Valentine Simmes. It contains about half the amount of text of the second quarto, which was also published by Nicholas Ling in around 1604-5. The first folio, which included all of Shakespeare’s works and was really the first Complete Works of Shakespeare was published in 1623 by Edward Blount and William & Isaac Jaggard. From these three versions, scholars and directors work to reconstitute the ‘original’ Hamlet, but it is almost impossible to know what the original Hamlet was exactly like.

  • ‘Quarto’ and ‘Folio’ are names that actually refer to the size of the paper that the text was printed on: if you imagine a sheet of paper, fold it once in half so you have a rectangle, then fold it again into a square, then open it out and lay it flat, you have eight sections, four on the front and four on the back.  This was called a quarto.  If you just fold the paper once into a rectangle and then unfold it, you have four sections, two on the front and two on the back.  This was called a folio. (Try it with a normal A4 sheet!).

The Hamlet cast

Reviews have been pouring in for Hamlet. Here are some snippets of mentions of some of the cast.

Sally Dexter as Gertrude 'shines' (Daily Mail); 'Michael Sheen’s performance will live in the memory... an audacious achievement' (Evening Standard)

Hayley Carmichael as Horatio is 'fascinating' (Evening Standard)

Vinette Robinson as Ophelia is 'truly touching' (The Guardian); Michael Gould as Polonius gives a 'fantastic performance' (BBC Radio 4)

Benedict Wong as Laertes is 'excellent' (Sunday Times)

'The Rosencrantz and Guildenstern relationship is quirkier than ever as Eileen Walsh joins Adeel Akhtar to exude neurosis and humour.' (British Theatre Guide)


James Clyde, Callum Dixon and Pip Donaghy are part of the 'incredibly strong ensemble' (BBC Radio 4)

Day seats are available for all remaining performances of Hamlet. Tickets from £10, bought in-person on the day of the performance from 9.30am. We hope to see you here!

Youth Council meets Hamlet cast and creatives

Adam Hipkin, a member of the Young Vic Youth Council and Director of Teafilms Ltd., met with some Hamlet actors and creative team members recently to interview them to produce some content for DVDs that we especially make for schools. Here are some of his thoughts…

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Hamlet is arguably one of the most recognised of Shakespeare’s plays. It sits amongst Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello and King Lear, as the most popular plays of his canon (the latter of which was performed at the Young Vic in 2009 by the now late Pete Postlethwaite.).

The Director Ian Rickson, who is taking on his first Shakespeare production, is in charge of an exciting cast headed up by Michael Sheen. We went into their rehearsal rooms just up the road from The Young Vic, with a couple of cameras to chat to some of the cast and crew.

The first person we spoke to was Maxine Doyle. Maxine is the Associate Director of Punchdrunk and is the Choreographer on this production. “Hamlet is a super complex play. My process with the work to date has been essentially kind of delving into the psychological investigation of the text”.  Maxine also mentioned to us a part of the play that is being kept top secret by the production team, but I think it’s fair to say that it draws on her work with Punchdrunk.

Next we spoke to Claire Louise Baldwin and Elle While, (Assistant Stage Manager and Assistant Director) about what a modern audience will get from this production. Claire was adamant that “with regards to the actual show and the way it is set, I don’t think it has been done this way before.” Elle on the other hand focused more on the main character: “It’s [about] someone who has lost someone very important in their life. We could all probably think of someone in our own lives going through that right now.”

After a short break while we waited for the actors to come back from lunch we spoke to James Clyde who is playing Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius. We asked him why he thought Hamlet was such a popular play, one which is always being produced somewhere in the world. “It just has this extraordinary verse. If you look at some of Hamlet’s soliloquies every other line has become part of every day speech. It’s the title of a movie or the title of an album. It’s probably the most borrowed from piece of literature in the English language.”

We then caught up with actor Eileen Walsh who is playing the part of Rosencrantz. This character and his friend Guildenstern are both close friends of Hamlet’s, the other key fact being that these roles have always been played by men. Although the casting of Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions) as Guildenstern sticks to this set up, the casting of Eileen as Rosencrantz sees the first women to play the part. “It feels like a piece of new writing. A women hasn’t played it before so it’s just a new take on the whole thing and certain lines that a man says, once they are said by a women, just have a completely different angle.”

The last actor we managed to have a chat with before the afternoon rehearsals started was Pip Donaghy who is playing three different characters: Barnardo, The Player King and the Gravedigger, the latter of which sparks one of the most famous scenes in the play with Hamlet holding the skull of his old Court Jester, Yorick. “In our production they [Barnardo, Player King and Gavedigger]  are going to have the same soul, they are going to be kind of the same character manifesting themselves in different guises.”

As we finished chatting to Pip the rehearsals picked up again and so we had to make room and pack down the kit.