Live Performance Review for Hamlet

The performance I decided to watch was Hamlet as played by Richard Burton. This play was directed by John Gielgud and performed on Broadway in 1964. I genuinely find Hamlet one of the more interesting plays because Hamlet’s character is so intriguing and very fun to analyze. As for the choice of performance, I mostly chose randomly because I am not well versed on the actual live performances of Shakespeare. However, I do not regret my random choice. My perception of Hamlet from reading the play was highly influenced from a psychological standpoint and his actions were always categorized as angry or psychotic. Watching Richard Burton act as Hamlet changed that. Because I was able to see the emotions on Hamlet’s face and hear the words come directly from him, I was able to get a better sense of where he was coming from and it added more depth to the character. There was a spark in Hamlet’s eyes as he spoke that made me feel that even during the times when he was supposed to be the most honest, like during his monologues, he still did not reveal everything about how he felt or was thinking. He also had a look about him that suggested he was a lot more intelligent and full of more wisdom than he let on. It made me start to doubt my position in the debate of his sanity. It was sort of a smug look to the audience as if he were saying “even you are starting to believe me.” Yet at the same time, there is an undercurrent of insanity in his words. His posture seemed desperate or anxious and at times when he talked to other characters towards the end, he didn’t make eye contact. It was like he was too caught up in his words and thoughts that he couldn’t focus on anything else. It was very interesting to see someone else’s interpretation of the character. It makes me wonder how Shakespeare imagined Hamlet as he was creating him.

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