It was only a matter of time until we got some Shakespeare in VR. But Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet 360 isn’t quite the debut we were expecting.
This is a feature-length adaptation of one of the writer’s definitive plays. It’s produced with the help of Sensorium, Chronotope and Google Daydream. But instead of simply putting you on the stage, Hamlet 360 actually casts you as a character – Hamlet’s father.
Yes, that father, the one that’s (spoiler) dead.
You watch the events of the play unfold as a ghost. In the play, the ghost sets in motion a revenge plot between his two sons. That means some scenes will be played out with characters actually speaking to you. It’s an innovative way to offer a new take on a classic. The jury’s out on if this version stands up to the others, though.
It’s also interesting just to see a full feature-length VR production. Most experiences of this kind last mere minutes but this adaptation is over an hour long.
If you want to watch in VR you can grab a mobile headset. The iOS and Android app allows you to watch 360 content in VR, but standalone headsets like Oculus Go and the Lenovo Mirage Solo also have dedicated apps. You can also get a Steam app, or some PC VR headsets work with the platform on certain browsers, too.
This isn’t the first Shakespeare VR or AR production we’ve seen. In fact, at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival this week you can see an AR rendition of The Seven Ages of Man inside Magic Leap.