“… report me and my cause aright To the unsatisfied.”
Hamlet is my favourite play. An endlessly, fascinating masterpiece with its universal themes that allow for constant exploration and reappraisal, I have been captivated by it since I was 18. With the goal of one day directing a production, whilst developing my first play Summer, I met a young, American actor Bryan Kaplan on another project and felt I’d found the actor I wanted to direct as Hamlet.
After some initial discussions, Kaplan and I felt we wanted to explore the idea of a one-man Hamlet and over a series of Skype sessions between London and New York, the first draft of a play entitled hamlet redux was created. Following a workshop in Los Angeles in 2013 (where Kaplan is now based), a new angle for the play emerged – to recreate the events of Hamlet from Horatio’s point of view.
Looking at the play from this perspective, it became apparent how many parallels there were in Shakespeare’s text between the grief that Horatio must feel at the end of the play over the loss of his friend and Hamlet’s own grief at the loss of his father. This immediately allowed for familiar lines from the text to be given a fresh interpretation and it was this theme of grief that I now primarily wanted to explore with the piece – how does Horatio honour his friend’s memory but keeping his story alive?
Returning to the UK, I expanded on the discovery from the workshop and wrote a new draft based on this idea and re-titled it Hamlet our brother. Securing the lead role in a feature film, has meant a future production of Hamlet with Kaplan is still to be realised but in autumn 2015, a new stage of development with the play began and following a series of workshops with Jeffrey Mundell, the London-based actor of Summer and director Tim Stubbs Hughes, the play Hamlet our brother receives its premiere in London in April 2016.