Posted by: shaktim
Credits: Filmed by Tim Maloney
Cast: Tim Maloney (Hamlet)
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.