Edalia Day brings their mix of observational comedy, music, and Shakespearean interpretation to the video game space in the show Super Hamlet 64.
Although I know the play Hamlet very well, and appreciate the utilisation of quotes and plot here, video games are a bit of a mystery: I enjoy the artwork and animation, and the sarcasm of a game with a mind of its own, but I don’t necessarily get the wider picture.
It doesn’t matter. In Day’s universe, words and movement link together to keep their creation going forward. In their Vault Festival show Too Pretty To Punch (also available to stream) last month, the clever mix of music, video projections and an easy camaraderie with an audience was a winning combination.
Fast paced and endlessly creative, this show references a whole group of old-style video games, with all their quirks (graphics, changing discs, slow loading, green screen questioning). Hamlet’s blood-letting denouement links to the news stories around video games and violence.
Half an hour in to Super Hamlet 64, there’s a moment where Day gets into the fabric of the game: a game of life where Hamlet navigates his way through his nightmare, a reflection of his own soul. It’s nicely done and leads to the interval.
This Hamlet hybrid made me laugh and I did get the constant references to the chatacter’s procrastination through a variety of video levels. Also using the Super Mario Brothers as Hamlet’s dead dad and murdering uncle was a choice which made perfect sense.
As a theatre stream, this is filmed with a static camera but with high enough quality to see both Day and the graphics clearly. It’s no substitute for seeing a live show, but captures the ambience and atmosphere of a fringe show. I found it engrossing for the whole 77 minute running time
Reportedly, Super Hamlet 64 is the result of 400 hours of video game playing to find quotes and situations which fit Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy. I’d say Edalia Day has succeeded, and I’m very keen to experience their future work, in whatever form it might take.
You can purchase access to stream or download Super Hamlet 64 at Edalia Day’s website, in return for a small donation.