The Machinima Shakespeare Project started as a crazy idea to produce Shakespeare’s plays in various video games. Machinima is a type of film production in which a story is enacted within a video game. As a film genre it’s pretty new and is primarily original content set in the world of the video game used to film it. Using video games to produce Shakespeare’s works is ambitious and a little crazy, but we think it fits our Three “E”s pretty well!
• Educate: We want this series to be a new resource for students reading Shakespeare’s works. A common comment about Shakespeare’s plays is that they are meant to be seen, not just read. We absolutely agree! By creating our productions in a video game setting and posting them on Youtube we aim to make them more accessible to students who do not have a firm love of Shakespeare and something new and quirky for those who do!
• Entertain: We are extremely excited to work with professional and student actors who can take Shakespeare’s language and bring out the beauty and depth of his language. Furthermore, his plots are also pretty interesting! Even though he had a habit of retelling stories that were already around, they’re rather gripping. Basically, we think Shakespeare was a pretty good storyteller on a lot of levels and genres, and want to bring that to a new form of film.
• Enrich: Shakespeare deals with some heavy stuff. Sometimes his characters ask philosophical questions like Hamlet, sometimes they make decisions we disagree with. Sometimes the play itself is a product of its time and is useful for a discussion of western social views of the past and where we’ve come from there (Othello, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew). He was also great at portraying complex characters and crafting an emotional story. Watching his plays is a rollercoaster of feeling and thinking (not just about the language). We want to share that experience with our viewers and start a discussion or two.
In short, we think Shakespeare has a lot to offer and want to bring it into the machinima genre (which is fun and cool). By doing so we aim to make a classic and sometimes intimidating body of work more accessible to students and give Shakespeare fans a new and zany take on a much loved friend. Check out our first installment, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark!