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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Despite criticism, Cumberbatch Hamlet screening a success

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Pierre Hecker, an associate professor in the English department with primary focus area in Renaissance theatre, organized a screening of Hamlet this past weekend. The college collaborated with National Theatre Live to show the Barbican Theatre’s production of the show all the way from London.

While a lot went into showing this screening, one of Hercker’s tasks was working to receive a grant, allowing him to install the correct equipment in the Weitz Center for Creativity. He emphasizes that “it’s very particular equipment that involves using encrypted hard drives that the company sends us… sometimes by satellite, sometimes by download or sometimes they actually FedEx a hard drive to us from England.”

A driving force behind bringing this particular screening to campus is Benedict Cumberbatch’s popularity. Cumberbatch, who plays Hamlet, is now a major international star and widely celebrated as one of the best English-speaking actors.

Hecker emphasizes: “So, when he puts his movie career on hold to do what is probably the single most famous play in the English language, it’s not totally surprising that that gets people’s attention.”

Sarah Meister ‘16 adds: “It’s a convenient time that production is being offered for sale to be screened in movie theatres. So Carleton is taking advantage of the fact that it’s happening now. The production is happening in London right now.”

Other advantages of the Hamlet screening at Carleton was its free admission and openness to students and community members. Furthermore, students did not have to drive to a faraway location and could watch it at a time that was more convenient for them. They play were screened on November 8th at 2pm and 7pm.

Although Hecker played a central role in the successful screening of Hamlet, he recognizes that he received a lot of help and had the proper space ready for use. He explains: “for example, if I want to show anti-live things from London, I need a Cinema in which to do it. So, somebody had to build the cinema for us.” Luckily, Carleton had just the place. Also, the English and Medieval Renaissance Studies departments helped sponsor this screening.

This screening, maybe with minor changes, successfully portrayed Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hecker notes that “the text of Hamlet is a very complex thing . . . by and large, what people will see is a version of the play that Shakespeare wrote.”

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