Klingon Hamlet: taH pagh taHbe’

Date: 2009
Posted by: klingonhamlet
Cast: Brian Rivera (Hamlet)
Credits: Cinematographer, assistant editor and director, Amir Sharafeh; capture editor and sound, Suzanne Tyler; costume, make-up designer and editor, Brian Rivera. A Still Picture Production.
Duration: 3.25

Firstly, I must admit to a strong aversion to all things to do with Star Trek and indeed to any cultish science fiction. Secondly, if anything were to make me change my mind and see virtue in what on most occasions is mere childishness, then it would be a sincere and effective rendition of the ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy in Klingon. And here one is.

Claiming to have been coached by Jane Lapotaire, no less, Brian Rivera gives an intense and expressive rendition of Hamlet’s speech in pure Klingon (the language of the villainous race of beings in Star Trek which has been constructed by addicts of the television series and films). As invented languages go, it is convincing and rich in tone, while for those of us whose feet remain on planet Earth, the words are given in English subtitles. And who would have thought there would have been a Klingon word for ‘contumely’?

The location is a little strange: a road bridge at night, with a tree overhanging the speaker (with full Klingon make-up), one of whose branches hangs distractingly over his face. Such minor details aside, this is something to watch with interest, then to listen to alone with increased interest. Truly, as Gorkon says (in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, naturally), “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon”.

YouTube page
Hamlet in Klingon (the text, that is)
Klingon Hamlet MySpace