Horatio's Hamlet Production Notes
HORATIO'S HAMLET, explores what became of Hamlet's revered and trusted friend, Horatio in the years after Hamlet’s death. It was created by Nick Baldasare a writer/actor and Columbus Ohio resident. He’d been one of my most trusted actors when I made films in Ohio, and even appeared in my second Los Angeles feature, WITH CRIMINAL INTENT. He’d also starred in several feature films and appeared in numerous Actors' Theatre Shakespeare productions, including the role of Claudius in HAMLET since I myself left Ohio. In 1998, in response to the death of his friend, actor Wesley Coleman, Nick wrote HORATIO'S HAMLET as a monologue and began performing it on stage in and around Columbus. Currently Nick is involved in touring HORATIO'S HAMLET and his other adaptations of classical literature to schools, libraries, and various other venues. That version ran anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes long.
I saw the show and thought it would make a cool film. Nick had created a unique take on Hamlet that depicts Horatio honoring the last request of his beloved Prince and confidant by re-enacting the events years later for audiences. He does this by assuming various roles in the play including Hamlet himself. For the film I thought, as it was a memory play, that the scenes could unfold in both real and unreal environments amid real and mannequin and marionette supporting cast members. We worked together over several years to trim the text further and turn it into a film. We waiting in vain over three winters for enough snow to shoot the opening graveyard scenes, finally settled for dead trees and began production officially in March of 2006 at a spectacular cemetery in Dayton Ohio.
The movie was shot on 35mm film using various locations throughout Ohio, some separated by hundreds of miles from each other. These included Loveland Castle, Bowling Green University, and the Dayton Art Institute. Its cast features Nick Baldasare as Horatio/Hamlet and Yellow Springs puppeteer Jim Rose as the Player King. Bowling Green State’s University’s Telecommunications Department helped produce the film; principally Dr. Ewart Skinner as principal instructor and Jose Cardenas as Cinematographer. Jose and I had not worked together and director and DP since 1985!
Both professional and student crewmembers made the film possible. The students filled in all supporting roles on the crew, including operating the camera and really rose to the challenge of what, for many of them, was their first film experience. We didn’t get the entire film shot in the allotted week for the class, so some of us got together for four additional shooting days in August of 2006. We actually finished this additional shooting in 3 instead of 4 days.
Like with my production on THE BIRTHMARK years ago I saw this as a chance to share great writing with people and perhaps even have it used as a teaching tool, but one that has real passion behind it by people who really love the material and hope to infect others with that excitement.