Hamlet Costume Designs

By Bill Black

This is a non-specific modern world.  The clothes are contemporary. The court of Denmark is not a military court, though there is some talk of the conflict with Norway.  The action takes place in Hamlet’s psychological space – in other words we see the world through Hamlet’s distressed eye. There is little color in this world, everything is shades of black and white – like the choice Hamlet is asked to make by his dead father. What is “right”?  What is “wrong”? The only real color that enters the world comes from the outside. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are outsiders brought in to interfere with Hamlet’s behavior so they have some color – color as their names suggest (rose and gold). The Players bring color in their performance of THE MOUSETRAP which is a device Hamlet uses to “…catch the conscience of the king” and the strong use of color here adds drama and theatricality to the moment. The Norwegian army has some color because, again, they are outside the real dilemma which Hamlet is facing. The final bit of color comes in the form of the blood drawn by both Hamlet and Laertes in the final confrontation.


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