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L6 Inspired by Hamlet Performance

O, That this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.So says Shakespeare’s grieving, conflicted Danish Prince, as he struggles to accept the death of his father and his mother’s almost instant marriage to his uncle, Claudius.

Shakespeare’s story follows the young Prince’s emotional journey, as he is faced with supernatural revelation, treason, incest, and the seeming degeneration of his own wits.

Director Simon Godwin employs an almost entirely black cast to present a vibrant and mercurial version of the play, with Paapa Essiedu a lissom Hamlet, Cyril Nri an unctuous and slippery Polonius, and Natalei Simpson a suitably vulnerable Ophelia. Sola Akingbola’s atmospheric and percussive African rhythms underpin the drama to excellent effect, and the end result is a searingly unforgettable experience.

All in all this was a great experience for our L6 English Literature students, who will be studying the play in September. The production provided an insight into the tragedy that will be invaluable when they come to study the language and ideas in more depth, and I think it’s fair to say that students and staff alike returned home weary but inspired.

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