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Transcript of Hamlet
How i will perform the characters.
Jobs And intentions as a:
Clown research : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clown
Researching Hamlet & What it's about!
History of Play
The play is divided into 5 act's. Here is a short summary for the events that happen in each one.
The ghost of hamlets dead dad is seen as his mum remarries and hamlet is isolated, being told to stay home from university, while everyone is told not to speak to him or allowed to go off to Uni. His dads ghost then tells him to take revenge on his murderer.
Act 1 - SUMMARY
Act Two begins with Polonius speaking to one of his servants, Reynaldo, about his son, Laertes, who has by this time returned to Paris.
King Claudius has made plans of his own to discover the reasons for Hamlet’s supposed madness. He has summoned two of Hamlet’s school friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Polonius steps forward to reveal his discovery. He tells the king and queen, in a very roundabout way, that he has discovered Hamlet’s foiled love of Ophelia, and that he believes this lost love to be the root cause of Hamlet’s madness.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter, surprising their friend Hamlet. The three friends banter philosophically for a good while before Hamlet asks the two why they have come to Elsinore. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern try to dodge this question, declaring that they have come for no other reason than to visit him.
Hamlet banters with Polonius in the same mocking vein as before until the players burst into court, at which point Hamlet rushes up to welcome them.
He declares his intention to stage a play exactly based on the murder of his father. While it is played he will observe Claudius. If the king is guilty, Hamlet figures, surely he will show this guilt when faced with the scene of the crime.
Polonius tells Reynaldo to spy on his son Laertes in Paris
Polonius thinks Hamlets behaviour is because of his daughter Ophelia.
King Claudius learns of the reason for Hamlets behaviour from Polonius
King Claudius instructs Rosencrantz & Guildenstern to find out what is causing Hamlets change in character
We learn more of Fortinbras movements
Hamlet makes his famous speech about the greatest man
Hamlet decides to find out if King Claudius killed his father, as King Hamlet’s ghost told him, by putting him to a test.
Ophelia enters, distraught. She tells her father that Hamlet has frightened her with his wild, unkempt appearance and deranged manners.
Act 2 - SUMMARY
Rozencrantz and Guildenstern report to the King that they are unsure as to why Hamlet has seemed unhappy. The King then arranges that Ophelia will meet him to find out while the King hides. Claudius sends Hamlet to England with Rozencrantz and Guildenstern. Polonius has been meddling with the situation and suggests that the Queen meets with Hamlet to discuss his issues in private while he listens after the play, the King approves of the idea. Hamlet reminds three of his performers that they musn't overreact or improvise as he wanted to see the Kings reaction to the scenes to see how guilty he would get. The King becomes very shaken and stops the performance. Hamlet is pleased with the news and is then told the Queen wishes to speak to him. Polonius tells the King that Hamlet plans to see the Queen. At this point the King realizes that Hamlet knows his secret and doesn't feel safe anymore. He prays for forgiveness though knows he isn't really sorry. Hamlet sees the King praying and wants to kill him but knows the King will go to heaven unless he is drunk or angered when he is killed. Polonius tells the Queen what to say to Hamlet but hides once he arrives, the Queen cries out and so does Polonius. Hamlet, thinking it is the king, kills him with his sword but shows no regret once he realizes he has killed the wrong man. Hamlet then begins to insult the Queen, who then begins to beg for mercy but Hamlet ignores her until the ghost appears and reminds him to take pity on his mother. Hamlet then becomes calm but urges her to confess her sins and stop having intimacy with the King. He then leaves, taking to body with him.
Act 3 - SUMMARY
The king tells some attendants, of Polonius’s death and his intention to send Hamlet to England. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern appear with Hamlet, who’s guarded. Hamlet reveals that Polonius’s body is under the stairs near the castle lobby, the king sends attendants to look there. The king tells Hamlet that he must leave at once for England, Hamlet enthusiastically agrees. a nearby plain in Denmark, Prince Fortinbras at the head of his army, is going through Denmark on way to attack Poland. the captain meets Hamlet, on his way to the ship for England. Hamlet asks about the conflict a man tells him the armies will fight over a patch of land with no profit Hamlet is amazed that a war could be fought over something with so little reward. Disgusted with himself for having failed to gain his revenge on Claudius, Hamlet declares that from this moment on, his thoughts will be bloody. the murder of Polonius leaves Hamlet in an unstable frame of mind, his excitable nature comes across as madness. He taunts Claudius and brings to light Polonius’s murder with word games Claudius wants Hamlet dead. It’s revealed that Claudius’s is having Hamlet murdered in England, rather than in Denmark, because he is loved by the people in Denmark.
Act 4 - Summary
Hamlet arrives at a graveyard with Horatio where he see’s two gravediggers joking about while working. He wonders who the grave is for, until he see’s the King and Queen walking towards it with Laetes. He realizes it is for Ophelia, and goes to the grave to mourn for her too, but ends up fighting with Laetes about how he didn’t care much for her as he went off to France without a glance. They are separated and Hamlet and Horatio go back home.
When they get there, Hamlet tells Horatio how he found that the King had sent off a death warrant for Hamlet to England when he was sent away, so he changed it that whoever arrived in England with the death warrant was to be killed immediately. This means that Rosencrantz Guildenstern are to be killed as soon as they arrive in England without Hamlet.
Soon they receive an invitation from the King for Hamlet to duel against Laetes, with the King bidding high for Hamlet. Hamlet accepts, and tells Horatio that if he dies, he is ready for death. They go to the duel, and Hamlet asks for Laetes forgiveness before they fight. He gives it and they duel, with Laetes using a poisoned sword. Hamlet gets the first hit, and the King insists he has a drink from a poisoned goblet. He refuses, and instead the Queen drinks it. They carry on dueling, with Laetes hitting Hamlet with his sword, and then them accidentally swapping swords and Laetes being hit with his own poisoned sword too. The Queen dies then, telling Hamlet it was the King, and Laetes who is also dying agrees, telling Hamlet he also poisoned his sword. Hamlet stabs the King with the poisoned sword and makes him drink the rest of the poisoned goblet before he dies. Hamlet tells Horatio to make sure people know what really happened and to not kill himself either, and that Fortinbras will be Denmark’s new ruler. He dies, and is given a soldier’s funeral when Fortinbras arrives, saying that he would have been a great king.
Act 5 - Summary
Hamlet, the protagonist of the story, and prince to Denmark is son to the Queen Gertrude and the previous king of Denmark as well as nephew to the current king; Claudius. Aged late twenties early thirties Hamlet is bitter for his recent fathers death appearing rather melancholy and cynical to most people, especially towards Claudius for his scheming plot of marrying Gertrude to become king of Denmark. Hamlet studied at Wittenberg and usually appears quite curious seeking out the truth of what had happened but also very crafty plotting schemes to get the upper hand over Claudius. Yet some of his plans do not go to effect due to his rash mistakes.
Gertrude Queen of Denmark and mother to Hamlet is a rather shallow woman, mainly for marrying Claudius her brother-in-law no less than 2 months after her husbands death. She searches for affection and status making her appear quite cowardly and weak. She loves hamlet a great deal but her affections are put aside when her reputation and status is at stake. Although she does realize her wrongs eventually, and seeks to reprimand what has happened.
Claudius the current King of Denmark, a very cynical thieving man who plays as the antagonist to the story. After murdering his brother and marrying his sister in law to become king of Denmark, Claudius is a calculating and ambitious politician who seeks for power. Although he does show genuine human feeling at points showing guilt for what hes done as well as genuine feelings for Gertrude at points.
Ophelia daughter to Polonius and sister to Laertes is a young beautiful woman who is madly in love with Hamlet, although hamlet struggles to show her affection at points she finds him irresistible. She appears quite innocent and is easily influenced as if she is in her own little perfect world being blissful of all the problems, although when things start to take a turn for the worse she is awoken to the reality of the problems which sends her over the edge. although even in her decent into madness she keeps it happy and cheerful with singing songs and picking flowers.
The Ghost -
The ghost is of hamlets recently deceased father. Claiming to be murdered by Claudius asks hamlet to seek vengeance for his ill gotten death. although its never fully told weather the ghost was really hamlets dad or not, hamlet speculates at points that the ghost is a devil sent to deceive him. yet the source of the ghost is never revealed.
Heratio, a close friend to Hamlet. Is Hamlets loyal and helpful friend throughout the entire performance, helping him when possible. They both studied together so they have allot of trust in each other. Heratio is the character actually telling the audience the story of Hamlet after his death keeping his memory alive.
The main themes of Hamlet are:
Death is a large theme running throughout the performance of hamlet, with the death of his father being the main plot of the story as well for a majority of the characters dying throughout as well, such as Polonius being killed by hamlet and the large massacre at the end with Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet and Laertes all dying as well. Death becomes so common in this show that characters start to appear rather blarsay about it.
Love although not being a main theme to the performance it still is a occurring theme in the performance with different characters showing different forms of love and affection for each other. A good example for this is Ophelia's love for Hamlet. even though he does feel the same he shows it in strange ways not focusing on the relationship being caught up in getting revenge on Claudius instead. Other characters that show love in the performance are Polonius and Laerte's but showing loving affection for Ophelia, Laertes always is trying to look out for Ophelia and make sure she does'nt get hurt so when she kills herself it sends him into a rage. Another form of love shown in this performance is between Gertrude and Claudius, although there are true feelings between the two the relationship is mainly driven by lust and greed for the status.
Revenge is a theme that drives this story. With Hamlet seeking revenge for his fathers death from whom Claudius murdered to gain power. Revenge is also shown in different characters through the performance with Laertes seeking revenge for his father and his sisters death which Claudius states Hamlet is at blame for tricking him to follow his dastardly plan to remove Hamlet permanently.
Written By William Shakespeare
Written between 1599 to 1602
This Theme is pretty easy to see, the entire play is based around death and people dying! but with hamlets father dying and Laerte's father and sister popping off, Shakespeare still seemed that he couldn't get enough of killing off characters, resulting in over half the cast dying in a bloody frenzy at the end, including Hamlet himself! this entire play is tragic with the deaths and deception throughout making this a very strong theme to the performance.
The play was set in Denmark yet no actual period of time was set.
Originally performed at the Globe theater
The play is perceived to be the 4th most famous play written by Shakespeare.
Key Features of the Play
When this play was written it was during a religious Upheaval and near the English Reformation. The play has been depicted as alternating between Catholic or Protestant, the Catholic aspects of the play are how the ghost is in purgatory and dying without his last rights as well as Ophelia being buried with a burial ceremony. this raises Hamlets conundrum on weather to kill Claudius or leave him to gods punishment which his religion requires him to do. There are also representations of the protestant religion, deriving main from Denmark a predominantly protestant country.
One of the famous features of Shakespeare's work and Hamlet itself are the philosophical quotes he puts into the performances. A quote from hamlet as he speaks to Rosencrantz "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" this line had quite a impact back in the day, during the 1600's philosophy was quite a big thing with famous philosopher's such as Rene Descartes and many others having a large impact on the culture amongst society. So the Philosophical phrases as well as the ethical conundrums Hamlet has to endure in the performance really sparked up in the community with the religious and ethical problems he had to face.
One of the features Shakespeare added to the performance was the mental state of some of the characters, predominantly Ophelia as she goes insane and kills herself. People believe that Shakespeare included Ophelia to go insane to show to the audience a more open view on people who have became physiologically unstable and to emphasize the effect hamlet had on Ophelia.
The character hamlet was originally intended to be performed by Richard Burbage.
The play was famous in its time for the dramatization of the ghost and the melancholy atmosphere with insanity being one of the features of the play.
What we can assume about the Ghost.
Emotions of The Ghost
From previous performances of the ghost from hamlet such as the Paul Scofield's performance of the ghost you can see an array of emotions displayed in the performances.
As you can see in Scofield's
version of the ghost he displays
some very subtle but clever
emotions, although some
performances of the ghost
appear angry and in anguish
for their untimely death
Scofield makes the ghost
appear scared, and slightly panicked, for he doesn't have much time to tell hamlet what has happened but also because he doesn't know what will happen to him if hamlet doesn't free him from limbo. i think this version is very well performed.
Other emotions that have been displayed in performances of the ghost from hamlet vary, from being angry to scared to even just a plain emotionless board to get the ghostlike appearance down making him seem mystical and unnatural. In most performances i have seen with the ghost though, most of the time when he enters the stage the entire atmosphere changes and becomes allot more tense. I feel that because the character is so important to the other characters and the plot the tension when he appears helps him explain what has truly happened.
Who is the Ghost?
The ghost at the beginning of his appearance to hamlet claim's to be his father, looking exactly like his father and explaining his death by being murdered by his brother Claudius, while not much information was given about Hamlet's father, Hamlet instantly recognizes him as his Dad. Hamlet goes on to think that seeing his father may just be a demon tricking him to kill Claudius in a supposed act of revenge. The ghost is never revealed to actually be hamlets Dad or not but in scenes in which he appears he shows compassion and displays emotion for characters that were close to him before death, a good example of this is when he tells hamlet to speak softer to his mother when questioning her about her motives. This shows that there is still a strong sense of love for the ghost towards Gertrude.
What do we know about the Ghost?
Was the king of Denmark.
Was Married to Gertrude.
Had a Son *Hamlet*.
Won a war claiming Denmark as his land.
He is Dead. (obviously)
He was Murdered by his brother.
He never got to go to the afterlife, because he was never avenged leaving
him in Limbo.
He still loves Gertrude and Hamlet.
He had a very strong reputation with the public.
This fact is shown by how other characters even Claudius speak of him even after his death claiming him to be a brave noble leader.
He is either Hamlet's real father as a ghost or he is a demon or evil spirit trying to trick him.
May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T' assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds
More relative than this. The play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.
Original Text from Hamlet about the ghost
This line spoke by hamlet shows he is questioning weather the ghost is real or just the devil in disguise as his father to get him to do what he wants. which is why he devises the play to tell if the ghost was telling the truth or not.
There is also the theory that the ghost is actually just all inside Hamlets head, and that he hallucinated him from the start to make sense of what had happened, although there is hardly any evidence to back this theory up it is still a good perspective on what the ghost could be performed like. By which i mean of how hamlet would of seen his father because that would of been how he would have appeared to him if he was from his imagination.
What do clowns look like?
The average clown emotions
Clowns tend to have over emphasized movements to whatever they do, this is to help add to the caricatured facade. here is a youtube videos of Slava a very famous clown practitioner, this shows how a clown moves and acts when performing on stage doing even trivial things to make it entertaining;
as you can see the clowns take
very precise slow or fast
movements but they also
contort their faces to display
very clear emotions for comedic
What is a Clown?
well by the dictionary's definition a clown is; a comic entertainer, especially one in a circus, wearing a traditional costume and exaggerated make-up.
But lets have a closer look at what clowns are and what they do?
clowns are roundly known for being extremely colorful and manic with overly caricatured emotions and personalities, but ill get into that further on. Clowns main purpose is to entertain and usually make people laugh, the main way that they do this is by using slapstick comedy to get the jokes out, for example a well known joke for a clown is the classic pie in the face.
Over time though and thanks to blockbuster horror films such Steven kings 'It!' starring Tim Curry. Clowns have started to develop a more feared appearance to a majority of people when they think of clowns, seeing them as creepy deranged killers or psychopaths. I personally think taking parts from both of these types of clowns will add a certain needed manic absurdity that this rendition of Hamlet needs.
To make sure you are not confronted by a gang of angry clowns, always make sure you know what one looks like to spot them from the crowd. An average common house clown dresses as followed:
The most sinister clowns
will not be caught dead without
wearing their classic multicolored
wig, as well as their fetching large
red nose to go with the whole entourage.
The average clown also parades
around in a large baggy shirt
with vibrant colors and usually
a polka dot or checkered pattern
occasional dungaree's are added
to compliment the design.
Clowns are also accompanied with
this very stylish; Baggy trouser look
with strong outstanding colors
and a very large color clash to boot
you wouldn't want to show your face
as a clown without these clinging to
And last but not least to the fashionable
clown get-up we have these lovely over
sized clown shoes to give off that perfect
goofy look all you clowns thrive for, with
vibrant colors and a silly shape that
will just dazzle your crowd! these clown
shoes are equip with extremely large laces
and puffed out toes to make any clown look divine!
Clowns usually have a set of over the top caricatured emotions with each clown always displaying a constant emotion with whatever they do, here are a few of the emotions clowns have;
clowns that appear happy usually laugh at a majority of things and always bring a light attitude to whatever they do, most happy clowns appear a little dim and vacant of mind though, always accidentally hurting other clowns or just generally doing silly things.
Clowns that are sad tend to cry alot and mope around with big sad faces usually dragging themselves about, these guys are usually the butt of the jokes.
Some clowns appear mischevious, always causing problems for the other clowns, tricking them into either hurting themselves or hurting others for their own ammusement.
We were initially asked by our assistant director, Megan to look at how we would perform the clown different from the other clowns making sure there is a clear difference between each clown. The reason we wanted this is to have a complete array of characteristics and emotions when the clowns are on stage to give that 'manic' feeling. we were also asked to subtly relate how the character would act based on how your other characters acted so in this case my character for the clown would be influenced by Hamlet's father.
when discussing with Megan we decided that the emotion for the clown that i am playing would be a Jeckll and Hyde style of emotion with split personalities. One emotion being very caring for the characters looking out for their safety. but the other side being sinister and trying to trick the characters or messing with them. i feel that this would show indication of the father but also the manic mischievous element that the clown's have. I also personally feel that this clown should be the leader of the other's being the strongest influence to hamlet and previously being the king he would carry a sense of authority about him.
The physicality for this character will be quite complex. Due to being a clown most of my moves will be over exaggerated whenever trying to do a task, such as closing a briefcase ect. This is just to get the silly clown style across. I also want to make my clown appear concerned about other characters i would do this by if something bad is happening i would frantically rush over to them and prank or try to help. this only comes to people the ghost cared about though such as Hamlet or Gertrude. where as he would act sinister purposely prank-ing characters when interacting with people like Polonius or Claudius. Showing the Ghosts character in the actions of the clown
Being a Mute
When performing as the clown i will never actually speak any lines and a majority of the performance as a clown would be silent, there are two reasons for this; one i feel that being silent shows the other characters on stage cant actually notice me or any of the other clowns, but also i think it adds comedic effect to what the clowns are doing. The only noise i shall make as a clown will be grunts and silly incoherent noises when doing certain tasks. This is to give the silly clown like effect and hopefully achieve a couple of laughs too lightening the mood of the play.
What shall my clown look like?
We want to get the dad feel of my clown to come across to the audience so one of the ideas for what i should wear and have as a prop is an old pipe to smoke bubbles from and a chew toy newspaper. These items are classic stereotype father items but with a silly clown twist to them. This is to represent that the ghost is the father of hamlet and the clown is influence by the ghost. The costume that we shall be wearing will be colorful masks covering parts of our faces but also dark clothing everywhere else. this is to follow with Hamlets dark attire as well as the creepiness that the clowns carry about them even though they are silly.
When performing as the ghost myself i would have to take into account that my character literally changes from clown to ghost on stage, so what my plan would be would be immediately change character when putting on a defining piece of clothing to indicate that i have became the ghost, when playing the ghost i will be looking for an aura of tension when he confronts hamlet. The reasons i want to do this is to make it seem that the character Hamlet has a revelation after speaking to me.
i would do this by performing my character with a sense of danger to what he speaks of and a look of urgency.
Emotion I will display
When I shall be performing as the king I want certain emotions to be displayed from my character. I want to appear slightly lost, as if he doesn't truly know what had happened to him but also to appear panicky the reason i want to make this apparent is because he is in purgatory and in my opinion i feel that i would be scared not knowing what will happen to him if his death isn't avenged. I would also want to make him sound angry when mentioning Claudius because of what he has done to him and also for marrying his wife.
The physicality that i want to display when playing as the ghost is at first to stand strong and still, the reason is that i want Hamlet to react at seeing him first, for him to be stunned to see his father. I then want to slowly move towards him explaining what has happened but then at the line "So art thou to revenge when thou shall hear'. The reason i want to rush toward hamlet at this part is because he is about to reveal who actually killed him so in my perspective of the character he would be very frantic but also with a mix of anger when mentioning his brothers name.
Tone of Voice
Although my character is a ghost, i personally don't particularly want to play on the ghostly image that you think of when imagining a ghost. i want to come across quite normal and human to show that he was human before murdered. I also want to add a sense of urgency to his tone of voice but also a sign of enlightenment, as if when being killed he realized something no mortal could. I want to try and add this to give the tense power that comes with the ghost and how he hooks hamlets attention so easily.
The costume for the Ghost shall be quite simple with just a dirty white lab coat worn backwards. The reason i want to wear this is for the easy costume change but also the dirty whole white appearance would make him look ghostly but also like he has been tortured since his death being kept away from the afterlife.
How? ( Professional Practice)
How ( Professional Practice)
Claudius / Polonius
Speech + Cold Read.
25 - 9
Read the scripts discussed Ideas.
Ghost / Messenger
6 - 1
December - January
Research personality of clown as well as how clowns act and move.
Blocking Act 1 and Act 2
Ghost / Clown /
Block positioning and delivery of lines for all scenes in Act 1 and 2.
Full blocking run
Finalize Blocking for entire Performance.
Character work scenes 1 - 5
Clown / Ghost
Work deeper into characterization and delivery of lines for scenes 1 - 5 as ghost.
Character work scenes 6 - 10
Character work scenes 11 - 15
Work deeper into characterization, blocking and delivery of lines for scenes 6 - 10.
Full Run of Show
Ghost / Clown /
Ghost / Clown /
Work on the characterization and blocking with delviery of lines for scenes 11 - 15.
Run the entire show with full blocking.
Full Run of Show / Clown work
Ghost / Clown/
Run entire show with full blocking.
Work on clown characterization as well as physicality and personalities.
Scenes 1 - 5
Scenes 6 - 10
Scenes 11 - 15
Clown / Ghost
Clown / Ghost/
Focous in more detail, blocking and performing scenes 1 - 5.
Focous in more detail blocking and performing Scenes 6 - 10.
Focous in more detail blocking and performing scenes 11 - 15.
Clown / Ghost/
Full Run of Show
Run entire show with full blocking.
Tech Full Run
Clown / Ghost/
Fully run entire show with technical blocking.
Clown / Ghost/
Clown / Ghost/
Clown / Ghost/
Rehearse full show, with scenes that need attention to improve.
Rehearse Full show with Technical
Rehearse full show with dress and costume and all props.
Clown / Ghost/
Clown / Ghost/
Perform show to Audience
Perform show to Audience
De - Rig and Graduate
De - rig show staging and graduate. Job done.
Ghost from hamlet video:
Hamlet general research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamlet
Hamlet theme research: http://www.rsc.org.uk/explore/hamlet/teachers-resources/themes.aspx
Tech Blocking/ Full run
Host a production meeting with the producer and rest of team to see the progress of the groups In this production meeting we Create a Draft Budget For all notified groups.
Host a production meeting with the producer and rest of team to see the progress of the groups in this production meeting we create a Final Budget by all notified groups. Sound track handed in.
Host a production meeting with the producer and rest of team to see the progress of the groups in this production meeting we have the poster set to get feedback on how it should look. LFX Draft and then we Refine the budget to make sure we are not loosing money we could save.
Host a production meeting with the producer and rest of team to see the progress of the groups in this production meeting we have a poster review to check if the poster is suitable and the group likes it and have a Lfx final draft.
Host a production meeting with the producer and rest of team to see the progress of the groups in this production meeting we reveiw all Costume + Make-up and then hold a fully costumed photo shoot for the characters.
We run a full performance where as the stage manager i make sure everything is running in order backstage and that everyone can manage their workload, if not i assist them with their job.
Set up Technical
I set up all technical and props as well as staging with all of the other members of the tech team preparing for the shows.
12 - 16 May
Run show make sure all technical jobs are done efficiently and effectivley.
De - Rig and clear up stage from show.
/watch?v=Zka2NwXQQa0 <--- Paste onto youtube URL
/watch?v=vZQ5ryS-YvM <--- Paste onto youtube URL
Hamlet Summary: http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/hamlet/summary.html