Hamlet*

Advanced Sound Design Course Project

May 2020

*Due to COVID-19, in-person instruction and recording sessions in the studio were cancelled

Sound Designer

Playwright: William Shakespeare

Director: Richard K. Thomas

Creating an effective sound score of a complex classical play is rooted in research and analysis. Using Digital Performer, the sound score is produced through collaboration with a director and applying standard production techniques.

Sound Score Concept

Our sound score immerses our audiences in the “devastating and fated impact,” as our director describes, of political corruption and Hamlet’s journey paralleled with our own ambiguous future. Throughout the production, we experience the colors of damaging, almost overwhelming, emotions. The compelling, yet paralyzing, call of revenge is emphasized in Hamlet’s inability to immediately kill Claudius. This determination and obsession of vengeance are equally consuming, like the volatile anger within Hamlet towards Claudius and Gertrude.

 

But...to what end?

 

Hamlet struggles to connect his intentions to action in moments of existential despair and hopelessness. Simultaneously, we wonder what hope we can have about our own future. Our audience also experiences another form of hopelessness in unrequited love. The melodies of Ophelia’s songs lament her failure to earn Hamlet’s affection. Consequently, we see Hamlet in ourselves as we regret his actions not only against Ophelia, but against his own mother and Polonius as well.

 

Hamlet is obsessed with vengeance, and his persistence alienates himself from everyone. Our audience experiences Hamlet’s drive towards revenge through events happening faster than we can process. Everything is spinning out of control and there’s nothing we, or Hamlet, can do about it. This reflects our lives as we struggle to find our own answers and thus act upon them. Reinforcing the urgency of the action, our scene changes launch us from one moment to the next. But we charge towards an uncertain fate: a future without resolution - just like the uncertain future Denmark faces at the end of the play. We leave our audience thinking about their fears of our own country irrevocably sliding towards dystopia.

 

Our sound score explores the flawed nature of humanity reflected in a mirror of Hamlet’s internal stuggle to confront corruption. More and more, we ponder our frightening and obscured reality that Hamlet exposes.

Evocative Images

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Production Photos

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Documentation

©2021 John Chung