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Director Gregory Doran and cast members explore the staging of the 'play within the play' sequence in William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. They reveal fascinating insights as to how it could be played and why. This crucial scene is explored in detail. Doran considers the appropriate tone needed to set up the shocks to follow. He also explains why a mix of grotesque and Elizabethan dress was chosen.

Meanwhile, Patrick Stewart reflects on why a clever man like Claudius behaves so obviously. He shares how he justified both a subtler approach and found ways to add more menace. John Woodvine talks about the use of formalised movement for the inner play. Features extracts from the televised version of the 2008 RSC production of 'Hamlet'.
This clip is from:
First broadcast:
21 December 2009

Classroom Ideas

A wide range of textual and stylistic aspects of the 'play within the play' are covered. These can be used to initiate further exploration of the scene or the whole play. English work could explore the function of this sequence. Explore how Shakespeare parodies contemporary stage and poetic conventions to add comic relief amidst rising tension. The dumb show can provide a lively alternative introduction to the whole play. Drama work could include staging a version in mime, freeze frames or music movement work. Perhaps refer to Hamlet's advice to the players?