Advanced Sound Design Course Project

May 2020

*Due to COVID-19, completing production of the sound score has been delayed to Fall 2020.

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 Rick describes, of political corruption and Hamlet’s journey paralleled with our own ambiguous future. Throughout the play, 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 can we have about our own future. Our audience also experiences another kind 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.


Obsessed with vengeance, Hamlet’s persistence divides 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 own lives as we struggle to find answers and act upon them. To reinforce the urgency of the action, our scene changes launches us from one scene to the next. But we charge towards an uncertain fate: a future without resolution, just like the uncertain future of Denmark at the end of the play. We leave our audience thinking about their own fears of our country sliding towards dystopia.


Our sound score explores the flawed nature of humanity reflected in a mirror of Hamlet’s internal battle 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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©2020 John Chung