Working Papers





How a Hamlet Happened

This site is a record of a production of Hamlet. We're going to show you—theatrical warts and all—the experience of a group of actors, designers, and technicians as they prepared to stage the play at the University of Calgary in February 2009.

We'll take you from the earliest preparation of the text to the hours of rehearsal to the director's notes just before opening night. We'll see how sets, lighting, costumes, and props go from preliminary sketches to what appears on stage. We'll be with actors from first reading to last performance.

We don't know at the start of our preparations if our ideas are the right ones or how we'll have to change themt. We do know that we'll make many, many decisions and revisions.

Join us.

Some Preliminaries

What's On The Site

At the top of every page, you'll find the main links—to this page, with links to the newest additions to the site. You'll also see a direct link to the (yet to come) performance. Finally, there's a link to the Director's Blog, where Patrick Finn will provide a regular video commentary about how things are working out—and when they're not.

Along the left of every page, you'll find the "working papers" (although much of them will in fact be video and graphics), where you can see the different parts of the production take shape.

Our working papers include, for example, early sketches of the set, lighting plans, and costumes—and their final execution. You'll find the text we're using and how to look at it if you're a performer, a reader, or a technician. You'll see stills and videos of performances, from early rehearsals on.

And for those visitors with accessibility concerns, this site should meet your needs. Please tell us when it doesn't.

Visit Early and Visit Often

Except for those moments when the well-being of the production requires privacy, you'll see what we see. We'll try add new things almost every day, doing our best to keep the site up-to date. Look for "The Latest" box at the right for links to the site's newest material.

So keep visiting. Even though the play's run is over, this site will continue to expand, adding new features and new information.  But it won't be about simply more text and more graphics or even more video; rather, it will be about letting visitors control how they use and interact with the site's material. That’s the next big phase.

. . . And Special Thanks

University of Calgary Fine Arts

The University of Calgary's Fine Arts Faculty sponsored this production; thank you to everyone there for your generosity and good will. For the Web site, the University of Victoria's English Department provides research assistance, and the University of Calgary hosts it. To both institutions—thank you for your support.