Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Historical Hamlets at the Citz

Shakespeare at the Citz is always a special event, and Hamlet, The Bard's greatest work, has provided some of the most memorable productions over the last 40 years. 

As we prepare for Artistic Director Dominic Hill's new production starring Brian Ferguson as the Dane opening on 19 September, we're taking a look at some of the productions that have made Citizens history. 
Brian Ferguson and Dominic Hill in rehearsals for Hamlet. Credit Tommy Ga-Ken Wan



1970
The first Citizens' production of Hamlet, directed by Giles Havergal and designed by Philip Prowse set the tone for productions by the triumvirate leadership of Havergal, Prowse and Robert David MacDonald which made the Citizens famous. 

1970 Hamlet directed by Giles Havergal
The all-male cast was led by recent drama school graduate David Hayman, and the homo-erotic and incestuous undertones divided audiences and critics straight down the middle. 

The Scottish Daily Express said it was a production of "unbelievable ineptitude'', while the Herald, thought it "disastrous".

Audiences, however, loved it:

"The end of that first night is unforgettable; how the young people in the audience rose to their feet and drowned with their cheers the sounds - and there were plenty - of adult displeasure." Cordelia Oliver, Magic in the Gorbals

1975 
David Hayman returned to the role five years later, with Philip Prowse's production set in Imperial Germany.   



1981The third member of the triumvirate Robert David MacDonald's production set the story in a psychiatric unit and starred Andrew Wilde as Hamlet. 


1993Malcolm Sutherland directed an hour-long studio version adapted by Charles Marowitz which made use of TV screens and focused on Ophelia's tragedy rather than Hamlet's. The cast featured a pair who went on to become famous faces on the small screen. Henry Ian Cusick played Hamlet and has since starred in Lost, while Ophelia was played by Helen Baxendale who became well-known for her roles in Cold Feet and Friends.
Henry Ian Cusick and Helen Baxendale


1996
The last production by a member of the triumvirate was directed by Philip Prowse. Cal MacAninch was 
"a tortured and thwarted Hamlet for the nineties" (The Herald) while Sophie Ward played Ophelia.Read an interview with Philip Prowse by Mark Fisher in The Herald in 1996.

Cal MacAninch as Hamlet

2007
The last Hamlet at the Citizens Theatre was directed by Guy Hollands and starred Andy Clark as the Prince. 
Andy Clark as Hamlet 2007. Credit Richard Campbell

Also in the cast was Sam Heughan as Guildenstern, now appearing as the 18th-century Highlander Jamie Fraser in the US TV series Outlander.

Andy Clark and Sam Heughan 2007. Credit Richard Campbell.

2014
Dominic Hill's stripped back, eerie, dilapidated version will be joining this canon of Hamlet productions at the Citizens. To create this production, Dominic has brought together members of creative teams that he's worked with in the recent past: designer Tom Piper worked with Dominic on The Libertine (2014) and King Lear (2012) and his productions of Verdi's Macbeth (revived 2014) and Falstaff (2008) for Scottish Opera; composer Nikola Kodjabashia whose music for 2013's Crime and Punishment was nominated for a Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland and lighting designer Ben Ormerod also worked on King Lear.   


King Lear (2012), Crime and Punishment (2013), The Libertine (2014). Credit Tim Morozzo

There's a nod to the Citizens' history, with Citz veterans Roberta Taylor and Peter Guinness joining the cast as Gertrude and Claudius. 

Roberta Taylor and Peter Guinness. Credit Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Hamlet opens at the Citizens Theatre on Friday 19 September and runs until Sat 11 October 2014. 





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