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A cliff in Denmark: An adapturgical exploration of Hamlet

The story of Hamlet is commonly attributed to William Shakespeare and has been adapted consistently by playwrights, poets, novelists, musicians, artists, and filmmakers since the Elizabethan playwright’s day. However, Shakespeare himself was an adaptor, with his Hamlet taking inspiration from Scandinavian and Icelandic histories. This research follows my own personal adaptation of the Hamlet narrative, using the characters, themes, and scenes as sources to draw from for the creation of a new play that uses Hamlet as the base of a palimpsestuous engagement. Through a series of workshops and rehearsals with two groups of actor/participants, I draw upon the images and ideas that are associated with Hamlet as ‘memes’ of the core Shakespearean text to write a 45-minute play. This play re-contextualises the Hamlet narrative to a 21st Century, New Zealand context, depicting a contemporary look at the depression and anxiety that can be read into the original character, and the way that the people in the character’s life affect the outcomes of the story. This process recognises the adapturgical (a portmanteau of adaptation and dramaturgy) tools which are useful while adapting and transforming a script like Hamlet into a contemporary context.
Type of thesis
Smith, J. (2020). A cliff in Denmark: An adapturgical exploration of Hamlet (Thesis, Master of Arts (MA)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/14071
The University of Waikato
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