Elsinore

Definition

Theater

  • A town in Denmark (Danish name Helsingør), which providesthe setting for the story of Hamlet. Elsinore's KronborgCastle has been the site since 1937 of an annual Shakespeare Festivalin which international companies perform only that play.

    The Old Vic company appeared in the festival's inaugural year,with Laurence Olivier as Hamlet. Although married, he washaving an affair with the actress Vivien Leigh (his future wife),who persuaded him to give her the role of Ophelia, replacing the excellentCherry Cottrell. The production, which also included Alec Guinnessas Osric, was to be staged on the castle ramparts and terraces beforethe Danish royal family. On the day of performance, however, torrentialrain forced the players into the ballroom of the Marienlyst Hotelfor a theater-in-the-round production. Olivier improviseda new stage production that sometimes involved him moving into theaudience. The critic J. C. Trewin called this "the performanceof a lifetime - so new, astonishing and exciting".

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