Act.Scene:  Act 1, Scene 5 (The Ghost and Hamlet)

DUE: ______________________________________


Shakespeare has created Hamlet with great care, and modern directors (of stage and film) also take great care when producing this play.  The sets, the music, the lighting, and the costuming all play a huge part in presenting each director’s personal interpretation of the play.

While Shakespeare clearly intends certain effects (i.e., Claudius is pretty clearly portrayed by Shakespeare as a questionable to smarmy character throughout), there is tremendous room for interpreting how to “set the stage” for each scene, particularly because Shakespeare includes very little information on stage directions and the like. 

This is your task today:  “Set” a stage for Hamlet and explain how the choices you make reflect the text and what effects you expect your choices to have on the audience.


PART 1:  “Setting” the Stage

Create the following:

  • Find or create the OPENING MUSIC and/or SOUND EFFECTS the audience will hear for this scene.  You may make an audio tape or CD, find music already out there to bring in, or write down the title(s) of the songs you would use and give a brief description of each.
  • Create a detailed drawing (or diorama) of the set.  This must include:
    1. At least 5 SYMBOLIC SET PIECES (images, set props, lighting, stage levels, or any other parts of set) that reflect patterns and aspects included in the text in this scene.
    2. At least 1 SYMBOLIC PROP that represents the characterization of one of the speakers.  Please do not draw or create the speaker; instead, draw or create the prop(s) that symbolize him.


PART 2:  Self-Analysis

For each element in your set, you must explain the following:

1.      What is the element and what textual basis do you have for including it in the set?

2.      What effects do you expect this element to have on the audience?

3.      Why do you think that element will have that effect on the audience? (or: How does that element create the effects you say they do?)

You should write one paragraph each for the OPENING MUSIC/SOUND, each SYMBOLIC SET PIECE, and the SYMBOLIC PROP (i.e., a minimum of 7 paragraphs).


You will also be expected to present your set to the class starting: _________________________