Wednesday 26 September 2018

Thy Name is Woman - Negga to star as Hamlet at Gate Theatre

Ruth Negga will be taking on the role of Hamlet at The Gate Theatre, Dublin. Photo: Getty
Ruth Negga will be taking on the role of Hamlet at The Gate Theatre, Dublin. Photo: Getty
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

Oscar-nominated actress Ruth Negga is to take on the role of Hamlet in the Gate Theatre's upcoming production of Shakespeare's great tragedy.

The play is scheduled to go into production later this year and there is speculation that Negga, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2017 for her role in Jeff Nichols's 'Loving', will play the Prince of Denmark.

This will not be Negga's first time starring in the play.

In 2010, the Limerick actress played an acclaimed Ophelia to Rory Kinnear's Hamlet at the Royal National Theatre in London.

However, this time she will play literature's most celebrated, not to mention gloomiest, Dane.

A spokesperson for The Gate said they would not be commenting on any aspect of their upcoming season until the official launch later this month.

Hamlet is a role often considered the pinnacle of a male actor's career as it covers the gambit of emotions, and allows them to showcase their acting chops.

In recent years, there have been a profusion of interpretations with Andrew Scott, Jude Law, Michael Sheen, 'Dr Who's' David Tennant and 'Sherlock' star Benedict Cumberbatch all stepping up to the mark.

But several female actors have also taken on the iconic role. The French actor Sarah Bernhardt famously played Hamlet on stage in Paris and London in 1899, and then in a 1900 film.

Most recently, Maxine Peake won rave reviews in the Royal Exchange theatre's 2015 production.

At the time, Peake said she hoped her portrayal would "spark a revolution" among female performers.

"I get why all men get very over-excited about playing Hamlet because you do everything," she said.

"Every emotional base is covered. It is encapsulating the ultimate part, where you get to stretch everything."

Elsewhere, women have tackled other iconic male Shakespearean roles; Vanessa Redgrave has played Prospero, while Fiona Shaw and Cate Blanchett both starred as Richard II.

Negga (35) is one of Ireland's most successful actors.

She graduated from Trinity College Dublin's Samuel Beckett Centre, and secured roles on stage at The Abbey before landing her breakout role was in Neil Jordan's 'Breakfast on Pluto' alongside Cillian Murphy.

She has also starred in BBC2's biopic of Shirley Bassey and as anti-heroine Tulip O'Hare in 'Preacher'.

It is almost a year since current artistic director of The Gate Selina Cartmell launched her inaugural season 'The Outsider'.

Productions from her first season have been met with positive reviews - particularly the immersive production of 'The Great Gatsby' which sold out for the entirety of its run and won numerous awards.

The last time 'Hamlet' was performed at the theatre was during Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir's tenure, with MacLiammóir taking on the titular role.

Irish Independent

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