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Hamlet - Process

For one of my Production Design classes, I got the amazing opportunity to work with three great designers: Camille Barrosse, Claire Yu, and Gabriela Salinas. Our group project was designing the set for a 1970's film adaptation of Hamlet. We all got together and brainstormed some great ideas: 1970's Chicago didn't have royalty, but they did have crime families! Our version of Hamlet would center around the Hamlet mob family. We were designing the set of Hamlet's Act 3 Scene 4, which is sort of the beginning of the end where everything goes downhill after Hamlet kills Polonius.

Because this scene is set in the bedroom of Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, we got a great opportunity to explore her character. We decided she didn't necessarily know a lot about her late husband's involvement in the mafia; all she knew was that the money was rolling in, and she didn't ask questions so she could continue to have nice things. We also decided Gertrude may have been an up-and-coming Hollywood starlet but gave up her dreams to marry young, and that she is still sort of reliving her glory days as an actress. That would also explain why Hamlet likes theatre so much; his mother probably exposed him to a lot of plays. Finally, we also came to the conclusion that perhaps Gertrude hadn't necessarily remarried Claudius in our version of Hamlet, but rather, after the mysterious death of his brother, he chose to sort of "take care" of Gertrude and Hamlet, and has since started taking over her home. Gertrude is still sort of clinging to her late husband's memory, though, and keeps family photos up in her room, as well as a drawer in her vanity where she secretly keeps mementos from her husband.

Here is our very excellent research done by Camille and Gabriella!

Claire painstakingly made these wonderful Sketch-Up models of our set as well.

And here are my final renderings with light and texture! We wanted it to be sunset, so sort of signify that things were taking a turn towards a bad ending and darkness and night, so we wanted some really dramatic golden hour light coming through the windows.

Gertrude's bedroom has this really lovely shoji screen that Polonius will be hiding behind during the scene. Our thought process was that the Hamlet family has so much money that they don't really have good taste anymore, and so the screen doesn't really match the 70s theme.

Here is Gertrude's bookshelf, complete with chia pets, some plants, and her prized-possession: an off-Broadway award from her younger days. This image also features the mirror that Hamlet will notice Polonius reflected in and will prompt Hamlet shooting him through the screen.

Here we have Gertrude's vanity, complete with her drawer of keepsakes from the late Hamlet Sr.

And that was our final project! The ladies I worked with were all so talented and I'm so proud of the work we did together this quarter.

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