Hamlet-Mobile is an immersive experience that explores grief through an interactive adaptation of Hamlet staged in a cargo van. Hamlet-Mobile is comprised of 8 short segments inspired by Shakespeare’s play, each performed for audiences of 1 to 2 people. The Hamlet-Mobile van parks at a location and performs one of its 8 segments on a loop for a 3-hour block; the van then moves on and performs a different segment in a new location. Audiences who see all 8 segments are rewarded with a secret 9th segment (and a free bumper sticker).
Hamlet-Mobile also contains a meta-narrative that audiences can uncover and explore – the theater company performing Hamlet-Mobile is using the piece to grieve for their recently deceased artistic director. As audiences get to know the performers through the various segments, their own relationship to death, mourning, and family tribalism is unpacked.
Developed for the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival by Los Angeles immersive theater company Capital W, Hamlet-Mobile was created to inject intimacy and surprise into a very familiar text -- Shakespeare's Hamlet. In placing the famously expansive piece in the tiny space of a van, we aim to highlight the human-sized emotions at the core of the play. Enveloped by the actors and text, each audience member's personal relationship to grief and family is unpacked in a safe setting.
In the devising process, we developed the 8 short segments utilizing Shakespeare's words, storytelling, and movement theater traditions. To give audiences another mode of interaction and exploration, we layered on the meta-narrative of the theater company performing the show. In the segments, we see this group -- called The Moving Shadow -- wrestle with the death of their fallen artistic director, Marlon Pine. Each actors' reaction to the loss of their spiritual "father" underscores (and subverts) the arcs in Hamlet, illuminating and complicating the text.
We worked hard to make sure the piece is more than just "site-specific" -- it is actively immersive. The audience is called to participate and affect the story at different moments. The van itself is a multi-layered fully interactive environment – a cabinet of curiosities that audiences can explore. The items inside augment the story of both Hamlet and The Moving Shadow.
With Hamlet-Mobile we aim to upturn traditional ideas of where theater happens and how grandiose it must be to have an impact. Channeling the anarchic spirit of 70s van culture, Hamlet-Mobile wheels into each new environment and creates a unique world audiences don't forget.
You can read reviews of Hamlet-Mobile here: http://www.hamlet-mobile.com/press
And a feature on the show from the LA Weekly here: http://www.laweekly.com/arts/hamlet-in-a-van-5672313
Lauren Ludwig -- Director & Writer
Monica Miklas -- Producer
Shing Khor -- Production Designer
Brandon Baruch -- Lighting Designer
Dave McKeever -- Sound Designer & Composer
Rachel Weir -- Costume Designer
Lindsay Hollinger -- Graphic Designer