The Hamlet of YouTube

Date: 2007
Posted by: shaktim
Credits: Filmed by Tim Maloney
Cast: Tim Maloney (Hamlet)
Duration: 3.52

Only on YouTube. In 2007 American Tim Maloney, anxious to be recognised as an actor, launched out on an exercise to provide multiple intepretations of the ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy from Hamlet, a project which he now says has a target of 365 takes. So that’s 365 different renditions of the soliloquy, each numbered and published on YouTube. They are filmed with assorted plain backgrounds, some while holidaying in India; many feature rudimentary editing effects and video distortion, with rock music backgrounds. Maloney’s scheme has clearly grown in ambition as it has progressed, and he now describes it as:

… one actor taking one monologue, or in this case, a soliloquy from Hamlet, arguably one of the most famous of all of Shakespeare’s plays and offering YouTubers a unique insight into what its actually like for an actor to ‘Work out a Character’ using repetition as part of the rehearsal process.

while he now labels himself ‘The Hamlet of YouTube’.

Almost needless to say, none of the interpretations is any good in the conventional sense. Maloney is singularly bad as an actor (and filmmaker), enunciating with agonising slowness and rolling his eyes a good deal, but unable to extract even the slightest trace of poetry or meaning (touchingly, at one point he writes that his renditions have now improved after consultation of Cliff’s Notes). But, to the observer, this is not the point. This is a Warholian exercise in obsessive repetition, using the online video medium (including its mode of publication) to extend its possibilities to logical absurdity. Whether it is ‘good’ or not is irrelevant. It is the banality, not the hoped-for profundity, that distinguishes the exercise.

Above is number one in the series. Maloney’s channel includes 129 more (so far) interpretations, plus other fanciful audition pieces (he harbours a similar ambition to appear in the TV series Boston Legal). The sheer audacity of the effort has attracted increasing notice (his wish is to be feted on Oprah as a ‘YouTube Star’), though so far it would appear that his acting career has been limited to an appearance in a TV commercial and a performance as Hamlet in a peculiar online movie spoof, Hamlet vs Goodzilla. Good luck to him.

Hamlet no. 1 YouTube page page
Tim Maloney …The Hamlet of YouTube channel
Tim Maloney’s personal site

Romeo & Juliet

Date: 2008
Posted by: Z4Films
Credits: Produced, animated, edited and directed by Tyler Zeiger for Z4 Films. Music selections given in the end credits
Cast: Voices by Tyler Zeiger
Duration: 5.10

Claymation version of the confrontation between Tybalt, Benvolio, Mercutio and Romeo, ending in the death of Tybalt, from Act 3 Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, performed on a tabletop with toy castle and faceless clay figures in single, bright colours. A rather engaging home-made effort, with good variety of shots, if not always in perfect focus. Shakespeare’s words are delivered in earnest monotone, with the occasional ‘dude’ thrown in. Produced as a school project, but the filmmaker has gone on to produce many more such claymation works for his Z4 Films.

YouTube page

Twelfth Night or What You Will

Date: 2008
Posted by: vcelloho
Credits: Character models by C. David Claudon. An Intro to Shakespeare and Company Film
Cast: Voices: Mariam Awaisi (Viola), Tommy Benfey (Sebastian), David Goff (Orsino), Carla Oppenheimer (Olivia), Jonathan Ho (Antonio, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew), Marissa Ho (Maria), Liam Hynes (Malvolio)
Duration: 5.45

A reasonably amusing spoof Twelfth Night using cut-out figures in Gilliam-style, but despite some creative touches it doesn’t really do much beyond mocking the play’s familiar highlights (though curiously showing us nothing of Malvolio’s yellow stockings). The drollest touch is to have Viola played by … a viola (disguised by a moustache). Shakespeare’s words are not used.

YouTube page