Hamlet 5th Year Trip -Zac Thompson

5th Year Trip to see Hamlet – Live Streamed to the Odeon Cinema Castletroy

Zac Thompson

On Thursday 15th of October, all of the fifth year class attended a live broadcast of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Odeon Cinema in Castletroy. We left the school at around 6:20 after one of Glenstal’s invariably delicious fry-ups…. We arrived at the cinema at 6:45 and to much delight the lads had time to hit up Macca’s (young kid slang for ‘to go to McDonald’s’). The play was being shown in two different screens, one of which was substantially large but the connection was dire. However the small one, with no-one supervising the ‘Premium’ seats had great connection with barely any lagging or freezing. The play was split up into two halves -The first half lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes, and the second half lasted 1 hour- with a twenty minute interval. The main cast was Benedict Cumberbatch(Hamlet), Anastasia Hille(Gertrude), Sian Brooke(Ophelia) and Ciarán Hinds as Claudius (as in Mance Rayder-G.O.T)

The play started at approximately 7:01 and there was a lot of fidgeting and moving from screen to screen to toilet and back, but everyone settled down eventually. From the get go you could tell this was a more modern take of Hamlet, what with Benedict Cumberbatch wearing a bomber jacket, a David Bowie t-shirt and wielding a glock. “What’re those” whispered through the crowd as Benedict Cumberbatch’s whited out adidas’  got screen time. The director, Lyndsey Turner, made some minor and some substantial changes to the play, all of which seemed to get mixed reviews. After everybody settled down, the play took a small while to really get going and everyone was a bit confused due to the change in order of lines and scenes, etc. However, we were all enthralled in the play minutes later. When the ghost of Hamlet’s father showed up, that scene had people on the edge of their seats (literally – David Power and Sean Hammond) blocking my view. There was an undeniable “dayummm” throughout the women -and admittedly some of the men- when Hamlet took off his bomber jacket to reveal a muscular set of arms. Benedict Cumberbatch really got into his role and had the audience truly believing he was mad, until Billy -on purpose or by accident I can’t be sure- brought us all back in the room by expressing his belief that  “He’s gone bangers” out loud.

My favourite scene in the first half was when Hamlet is at the wedding feast of Claudius (absolute snake) and his mother. As the feast comes to an end, everybody aside from Hamlet goes slow-motion and Hamlet reveals his inner thoughts in the famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy. Apart from Benedict Cumberbatch making his role intricately realistic, the slow motion done by the other actors was incredibly well choreographed. As everybody poured out of the cinema after the first half, there seemed to be predominantly positive review and we were really enjoying it.

The second half started twenty minutes later and as you entered the screen there was an overwhelming Eau de Macca’s. The second half was just as intense as the first, and I became more enthralled in the plot as it went on. There were several moments throughout the play that I was clueless as to what could come next, but the best scene in the second half was, in my opinion, the gravedigger’s scene. Hamlet becomes involved in a conversation with one of the gravediggers, who is burying Ophelia. Although Hamlet has had the upper hand in making a play on words, he is overshadowed by the gravedigger’s comments. I thought this scene was really well done and the director managed to work in comedy without looking like someone who laughs at a grave. When the second half ended we all filed out of the cinema, followed by a mad scramble to get to McDonald’s, which was again led by the usual suspects.

After everyone had enough Macca’s to last the bus journey home, we left the cinema and got back to the school at around 11.02

Overall, I really enjoyed the play. I thought that they modernised the play excellently without overdoing it. Thanks to Mr. Duffy, Ms. O’Brien and Ms. Foley for organising this trip.