To direct or not to direct? That is the question I asked myself again and again before taking on Hamlet, it seemed an intimidating task to say the least , but I am forever glad that I took up the challenge. The next question I asked myself was inevitably, what would my production of Hamlet look like? I had read the play for the first time years ago and found the epic tragedy, outlandish humour, political scheming and psychological complexity all incredibly compelling, but it was the personal and familial dynamics that I decided, along with my incredible AD Maria Galimberti, that I really wanted to focus on. The intimate and historic Norman Chapel has been generously given to us to stage this version, and it’s grand but enclosed atmosphere is perfect for exploring the emotional and exsitential tragedy of these characters, facilitating a re-examining of the morality and motivations of each member of the court, outside of Hamlet’s sometimes limited perspective. This of course would not be possible without my extraordinary cast who have taken everything thrown at them, from staging this on a thrust, multi-rolling, swordfighting and all that line learning, and have made this such an amazing project to be a part of, and I am so proud of the great performances we have crafted together. Thank you again to Maria for being my creative (and literal!) sparring partner in this massive undertaking, to my producers Melissa Redman and Maggie Baring for their huge flexibility as prop-finders, marketers, light operators, stage managers and anything else I needed (Though our prod team be little, she is fierce!). Finally, a special thank you to Rev’d Dr Stephanie Burette and everyone at Castle College who collaborated with us on making this production possible as directing Hamlet (which I can now officially say with all the pretentiousness that comes with it), has been a truly wonderful, if stressful, process to share with my cast and crew, and I am thrilled at the prospect of people seeing what we have created.
By Niamh Kelliher
Photo credits: Castle Theatre Company