Production 2004

Hamlet (2004) - Toby Stephens as Hamlet. Photo by Manuel Harlan © RSC

Michael Boyd directed this production of Hamlet with Toby Stephens in the title role. Michael sees Hamlet as a dangerous and exciting play - a thriller with the same kind of gothic allure as Batman.

The play was set in England, in a 'dark, bloody Renaissance'. The curved back wall of Tom Piper's black set had doors for eavesdropping and actors were able to enter from the auditorium using a metal ramp.

Michael extended the rehearsal period so the ensemble cast were able to explore their roles as fully as possible, creating strong rather than introspective characters.

Explore this production with these photos and video clips:

Browse the photo gallery »

Select a video clip from the following sections:

This section focusses on Hamlet's failure to fit into the mould of traditional revenge hero.
Video - Revenge »

Secrets and lies
This section deals with politics and courtly intrigue. This section investigates how the characters in Hamlet play against each other for power.
Video - Secrets and lies »

Sex and violence
This section focusses on the women in the play. Follow either Ophelia's journey and the 'Nunnery scene' or Gertrude's journey through the 'Closet scene':
Video - Ophelia »
Video - Gertrude »

The tragic hero
This section considers Hamlet's state of mind and strategies for dealing with his predicament.
Video - The tragic hero »

Photo by Manuel Harlan shows Toby Stephen as Hamlet in the RSC's 2004 production © RSC

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Teaching Shakespeare