Maggie Pham 10081667 Michael Ullyot English 205 November 17, 2011
The two BBC radio productions of Hamlet, (1992) Kenneth Branagh and (1999) Michael Sheen are audio reproductions of Hamlet 2.2. The lack of visuals in both plays allows the listener to create personal interpretations that correspond with the provided audio directions. It is my contention that the 1999 BBC radio play is more effective in creating a detailed interpretation through a credible atmospheric setting, character tone, and diction.
One of the main contrasts between the two is how the background sounds communicate opposite settings. The 1999 version uses echoing voices and footsteps to create the setting of a room. An example of this is when ambassadors from Norway visit Claudius (2.2.57-58). The 1992 version lacks the directional stage element that 1999 has; instead of the atmosphere of a room, the scene is placed outside through the sound of birds chirping and running water in the background.
The differences in the usage of background allow the listener to create personal interpretations of the atmosphere.
Directors and actors utilize background sounds with vocal tones to create a detailed scene and convey character. The 1999 version is set inside of the royal court; the actors present Claudius and Gertrude in a political manner through formal tone of voice. In comparison to the 1992 version, the scene is set outside which makes the interactions between characters natural and sincere. In lines 1 through 39, Claudius and Gertrude ask Hamlet`s friends to find the reason behind Hamlet`s madness. The concerns Claudius and Gertrude have for Hamlet is impersonal through the emphasis of a reward if his friends discover the reason for Hamlet`s madness. In the 1992 version, the interactions between these characters appear genuine and sincere. The actors portraying Claudius and...