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 Students of A level English benefited from Hull’s year
as City of Culture when the RSC brought its touring production of Hamlet to the New Theatre during February half term. This production of Hamlet combined vibrancy with an urban grittiness which meant that the play had a very powerful, energetic flow and that the production felt fresh and innovative, despite having studied the text in class. The bright colours, use of graffiti and modern adaptations of the characters allowed
for plenty of symbolism to be featured, for example, Hamlet’s suit was littered with motifs such as crowns which made an exciting visual display. The RSC’s production also included lots of movement, the fight between Laertes (Buom Tihngang) and Hamlet (Paapa Essiedu) used sticks and fire to create tension and a focus on the danger during the play. In addition to this, Hamlet and Ophelia (Mimi Ndiweni) used an intensely physical portrayal of their relationship as Hamlet seemed to threaten a compelling, strong-willed Ophelia as he learned of her betrayal, and Paapa Essiedu emphasised the violence within the play.
Despite the exuberance of this production of Hamlet, it also included some very tense and sombre moments. In one of the first scenes, Paapa Essiedu listens to his
On the 20th June, Mr Roberts’ and Mr Summers’ classes set off to Filey Brigg on an intriguing adventure. As soon as we arrived, we hopped off the coach and trekked down to the beach.
During our time there, we observed the rocky shore and the shape of the coast. When we reached the
rock pools, we scoured the area for any organisms and luckily, we found a shore crab which was absolutely fascinating. At this point, lunch was way overdue as everyone was starving! Straight after lunch, we got back into conducting a biomass study. We set this up by laying out an axis of 10x10m. Once we did this, we placed down our quadrat at random coordinates on the axis and recorded the percentage cover of different plants and animals. Unfortunately, the weather decided to turn on us, unleashing considerable rain and wind.
This made it extremely hard to do the next task where we had to roll out the tape measure 30 metres and do an interrupted belt transect line (we identified the percentage cover of different species of seaweeds as part of the zonation study).
By now, everyone was shattered and most people slept on the way home to Hymers. It was a simply smashing day!
uncle and mother talk about his father’s death with tears rolling down his face, conveying the moment subtly but also with an expressive tenderness which really helped
to convey the strength of Hamlet’s grief. This emphasis
on emotion is shared by Ophelia in her madness; her tearing out of her hair in place of the original flowers shocked us but also added a modern, strong edge to her character. The defiant Gertrude, played by Tanya Moodie, complements this rebellious Ophelia and contrasts well with Claudius (Clarence Smith) who acts as the King of the corrupt, African Denmark.
One of our favourite moments was the scene directly before the interval which left Hamlet with a gun to Claudius’ head, an extremely dramatic, suspenseful
scene which was unique to this production and filled us with anticipation. They also crafted interesting secondary characters, for example hinting at a past relationship between (the female) Guildenstern (Bethan Cullinane) and Hamlet. The dying moments between Hamlet and Horatio (James Cooney) were surprisingly tender and melancholy with a strong connection between the two characters, perhaps one of the most emotional scenes in the play.
Emily Lidgard, Year 12
   Elly Hong, Year 10

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