In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia’s madness is closely associated with her loss of memory and her inability to remember and make sense of her experiences. This is exemplified in her famous speech in Act IV, Scene 5, where she hands out flowers and gives each one symbolic significance, yet her words lack coherence and meaning.
The concept of memory, or the loss thereof, is a central theme in Ophelia’s character, as she grapples with the tragic circumstances of her life.
Director Cameron Knight mentioned to me that he wanted Ophelia to own a Polaroid camera in our 80s/Renaissance world. This inspired our Technical Properties Director, Duck Bracey, to create a crown made of polaroids and Ophelia’s letters from Hamlet.
Duck gave me a side quest to take 20 photos with other cast members, or rather, anything that Ophelia might want memories of, to use on the crown.
Cameron’s vision inspired me to draw the parallel that the photographs and camera play a role in documenting and preserving moments that Ophelia, in her state of mental distress, could not. They serve as a means to remember and share remembrances, which contrasts with Ophelia’s struggle to maintain her own memories and identity.
Finally, it is used to capture evidence for Hamlet. Can you spot the moments??
Rush to see our brilliant production of Hamlet (part of ASC’s 35th Anniversary) and partake in the memories that we’ll be talking about 35 years from now. Hope to see you at the Playhouse!
2023 is the American Shakespeare Center’s 35th Anniversary and the First Folio’s 400th Anniversary! Join us for the final productions of this celebratory year at the Blackfriars Playhouse: Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Coriolanus, and A Christmas Carol. Check out our full calendar of events and book your tickets today!
All photography by October Grace Media. (Header) Photos of original and distressed polaroids, (Photo 1) Brandon Carter and Matthew Henerson, (Photo 2) Brandon Carter and Philip Orazio, (Photo 3) Angela Iannone, Brandon Carter, and Matthew Henerson, (Photo 4) Brandon Carter, (Photo 5) Brandon Carter and Cameron Knight, (Photo 6) Brandon Carter and Corrie Green, (Photo 7) Meg Rodgers and Brandon Carter, (Photo 8) Brandon Carter and Corrie Green, (Photo 9) Corrie Green, (Photo 10) Brandon Carter, (Photo 11) Brandon Carter, (Photo 12) Philip Orazio and Brandon Carter, (Photo 13) Brandon Carter and Meg Rodgers.