Comparing Productions of Hamlet

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Since William Shakespeare began his career as a playwright, many others have attempted to produce their own versions of his plays. One play which has been produced time and time again is Hamlet. Whether Hamlet is performed live or simply a movie, each production has its own unique spin on the stories within the play, and each has its own “feel”. Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet places the story in modern day New York City, with Ethan Hawke as Hamlet, Julia Stiles as Ophelia, Bill Murray as Polonius, and many others. Almereyda’s interpretation of Hamlet makes the audience able to be more emotionally attached to the characters through the way in which scenes are staged, speeches performed, and relationships and interactions organized. Almereyda’s Hamlet is a completely modernized production of the play. For example, as opposed to Hamlet being the former king of Denmark, he is actually the “king”, or CEO of Denmark Corporation located in New York City. Instead of Elsinore being the castle, it is Elsinore Hotel. Hamlet (the “prince”) is an indie film producer, adding to the idea of a “movie within a movie.” His films are a good way to represent and reflect his thoughts during his speeches. When there are scenes in which the people of the court are present, such as during Claudius’ announcement of his marriage to Gertrude or the duel scene between Laertes and Hamlet, the scenes are set up as press conferences with photographers and reporters. Fortinbras is actually the nephew of another corporation, Norway, and the threat of his takeover is only slightly touched upon. Whereas the threat of a Nordic invasion adds to the tension of Shakespeare’s version, this element is for the most part absent from the movie. One of the most interesting parts of the movie production of Hamlet is the way in which soliloquies, monologues, and asides are performed. These types of speeches are much easier to add into movies, as they do not have to necessarily be spoken parts. One...
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