WE'VE MADE OUR GOAL!
This project is definitely happening now. All rewards are still being offered, and all pledges gratefully accepted (maybe now I can rent / construct / store some stage cubes for my underpaid actors to sit upon). Thanks to all for your support! Details as we go.
What You'll See in the Hamlet: The Series Video Clip
You'll see a rough version of one way we'd use multimedia to put the Hamlet soliloquies on their own plane separate from the action, and an example of how, by breaking Shakespeare's writing into pieces, it can become easier to grasp without losing its cumulative power.
Why Hamlet: The Series Should Happen
We think it's important to enable the audience to process all the complexities of the play without being overwhelmed. Each of the episodes takes place within a defined space of time (often a day) and has a dramatic arc of its own, as well as contributing to the greater whole. The audience therefore has room to enjoy and ponder what has happened, while at the same time being pulled in to watch what happens next.
How Hamlet: The Series Will Happen (with your help!)
The series will bring the original language to an abstract modern-era setting. Dialogues and action will be performed on an austere stage-like space with just enough dressing to distinguish one locale from another. Cinematic techniques such as forced perspective allow meanings to be emphasized in a different way than in live theater. Social media and multimedia (such as in the video clip) can seperate the soliloquies and speeches from the action, reinforce the interconnection of the characters, and highlight their propensity to observe one another. The division into episodes will also facilitate doing different parts of the play in distinct cinematic styles suitable to that part, which could be jarring if the play was adapted to a single feature film.
Who Hamlet Will Be (or not be, which is in fact the question)
After a series of auditions, Kitty Mortland has secured the role of Hamlet. She has had an impressive and diverse career on stage, in independent films, and in music, and has already shown considerable drive in sticking with this project through the early ups and downs.
There are multiple reasons to have a female Hamlet. One is the fresh look it gives to the play's exploration of gender proclivities, love, and sex. Another, related, is the new light it throws on the many professions of love for the Prince, and their questionable sincerity. It restores the forbidden nature of the ambiguous romance with Ophelia, in an era when class differences are theoretically no impediment to marriage. But the biggest is that Hamlet is a character who, more than any other, refuses to be kept in any one category. A male Hamlet is no more comfortable being male, being royal, being Christian, being heterosexual, even being alive than a female Hamlet would be being these or their opposites. In the 19th Century, female actresses such as Sarah Bernhardt routinely played Hamlet (though as a male), and I think we can't have a complete picture of the Dane until we've seen ALL kinds of people play the part. A female Hamlet will not be exactly like a male Hamlet, but will remain fundamentally Hamlet, and help us to see what those fundamentals are.
Where Hamlet: The Series Will Be Filmed
The Evanston Community Media Center, just north of Chicago Illinois, is providing a free shooting location for the main scenes, as well as invaluable access to equipment including lights and microphones. Multimedia segments will be produced both there and around the greater Chicago area.
When The Various Scenes From Hamlet Will Appear
For fans of the play's structure, here's how the episodes break down (notwithstanding some edits & displacements):
Episode 1: Act 1 (as per the 1676 Quarto)
Episode 2: Act 2
Episode 3: Act 3 Scenes 1-2
Episode 4: Act 3 Scenes 3-4 & Act 4 Scenes 1-4
Episode 5: Act 4 Scenes 5-7
Episode 6: Act 5
Well, that's six questions answered. If you have any others, please use the link below. I'd be thrilled to see them.
Risks and challenges
Doing even an abstract production of a work of this scale (21 speaking roles!) will require a lot of coordination and a great deal of volunteered time and effort. Lengthy and repeated rehearsals will be needed so that everyone is using the period language in a coordinated way. Shoots have to be scheduled, set pieces (and in many cases lighting taking the place of set pieces) must be designed & arranged. Multimedia elements have to be independently created so that they can be presented alongside the more traditional theatrical ones. And that's before the cameras even get rolling on some very challenging & complex dialogue & action.
Fortunately we have a small starting crew who have worked together on other projects, around whom more volunteers can be added. Several actors have also expressed interest, but given the large time commitment involved some kind of payment is necessary, even if it is a mere pittance compared to what they deserve.
If we're fortunate enough to surpass our initial goals, extra funds would allow us to acquire, construct, and store modular set pieces (cubes & flats), and to get costumes and props beyond what we can find in our closets.
Realistically, there are many expenditures beyond these that could improve how the final project looks. But even if only the base-level comes through, we're determined to make it work, with a great deal of gratitude to our backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)