Internet Royalty: An Adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet
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Internet Royalty is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s well-known tragic play, Hamlet, into a modern work that functions in a modern setting: the world of social media. Our goal in creating this series, and in modernizing the story and ideas of the play, was to eliminate the elitism surrounding Shakespearean works. We wanted the average person to be able to understand and connect with the characters without having to look up what all the words mean. That factor is primarily what makes this adaptation of Hamlet different from others; it keeps the themes of the original work while remaining relatable and understandable to a modern audience. The main body of the series takes place on YouTube, where most of the younger characters have established YouTube channels. We decided that, with all the soliloquies that Hamlet makes to the audience across the stage, those monologues would translate perfectly to the modern YouTuber speaking to an audience across the internet. Additionally, we placed Horatio, Laertes, and Ophelia on YouTube because we believe that their interactions, with Hamlet and each other, mirror the type of drama found on the platform. Older characters such as Claudius, Gertrude, and Polonius were relegated to Facebook, and transposed into middle-aged, out-of-touch parents. Additionally, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will perform mainly on TikTok because we believe that the platform fits their personalities better than YouTube. We will also use their joint account as a form of social media promotion, to introduce the project to a potential audience and inform them of updates. The entire work will consist of a series of YouTube videos, Facebook posts, and TikTok clips, and will be released in “real time,” as if the characters were recording, editing, and uploading the videos or posts themselves. After the thesis, we plan to produce our script as a multimedia project. We hope to use this medium to foster interaction with a live audience, having them leave comments on existing videos and hinting towards future ones. We want our audience to immerse themselves in the experience of watching YouTuber drama unfold. For the sake of organization, and for ease of access to all the content, all links to videos and posts will be uploaded to a future website disguised as a fan-made site. It will feature an “About” page that contains information about the project and a link to this thesis. For the sake of comparison, we have included the original version of the script. When writing this script, we were inspired by playwright Kirk Lynn’s process of writing the Fixing Shakespeare series. We went through the original script of Hamlet and broke down the scenes into their base ideas, then modernized those ideas into a rough outline. With the outline as a reference, we combed through Hamlet line-by-line, modernizing as we went, then revising full scenes for clarity. The result was an enormous, clunky script that was the length of a feature film. We then arranged the videos and posts that we had written into an episodic format that broke the scenes into more manageable chunks. Now, we are letting go of that intense loyalty to the source material to rework our first draft. We are cutting, combining, and rearranging scenes, characters, and plotlines in an attempt to fill plot holes from the original script, fully embrace our modern mediums, and most importantly, to tell a good story. For comparison’s sake, we have included the first two episodes of our second draft that were written using this process, our outline for the future episodes, and our initial draft.