“To be, or not to be -That is the Question”
The Maricourt English Department arrived at London to watch Shakespeare’s Tragedy of ‘Hamlet’ brought to life on stage
By Hannah Carney
On Saturday the 26th of March, 10 students representing the English department from Maricourt Sixth Form travelled down to London to watch Sam Wanamaker’s production of ‘Hamlet’ re-enacted out on stage alongside teachers Mrs Bell and Mrs Bull who organised the trip. The students met at Liverpool Lime Street early hours of Saturday morning before boarding a train that took them to Euston station in London. On arrival, they were given a couple of hours free time before the performance where they could take in the sights on offer. From Big Ben to the London Eye, the students were situated in a location looking over The River Thames which gave them the freedom to explore the peak tourist destinations available in the capital city. Once they had explored London and familiarised themselves with the city, the group agreed to reconvene back together again outside of Shakespeare’s Globe before entering The Sam Wanamaker playhouse theatre to watch the 3 ¼ hour production become brought to life before their eyes. Welcomed into the theatre by enthusiastic staff, the students and teachers were seated on wooden benches arranged in the pit of the playhouse, surrounded by two levels of galleries built around the stage. The theatre itself was intimate and magically lit up by a myriad of candles which recreated the atmosphere of playgoing in the early 17th century. This gave the sixth form a firsthand experience and taster of what visiting productions in the theatre was like during the Shakespearean era; helping them visualise and understand why it was such a significant part of people’s lives.
Madness, Magic and Murder
The sixth form became mesmerised by the performance
The production itself was comedic, entertaining and consisted of talented cast members who took on the roles of the characters already familiar to the students through their A level studies of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. The production team put their own modern twist on the original play, which offered the sixth form an alternate perspective of the Shakespearean script already familiar to them. The performance, which was divided up by 2 intervals, allowed the school to watch the play unfold and witness the eponymous ‘Hamlet’ become more and more consumed by his own madness and antic disposition. Famously known for it’s timeless ‘To be, or not to be’ speech, the students and staff were able to enjoy and engage in the performance being acted out before them on the stage. From bloodshed, supernatural spirits and murder to characters breaking down and questioning life itself, the production entwined all of the original themes from the original play into its new adaptation.
Offering the students this memorable and educationally enriching opportunity enhanced their prior knowledge of the play and helped assist their A level studies in preparation for their exams. Once the production was over, the students and staff gave the actors a round of applause alongside the rest of the audience and took in the experience from inside of the theatre for one last time. They then all made their way back through London to the station, before getting back on a train to Liverpool Lime Street and departing off back home again. The experience allowed them to make new memories and improve their overall understanding and knowledge of the play as a whole, which would help them in their future studies.