I came up with the idea of using gas masks as a symbol of death within the play, and have been researching different styles for my costume designs. The main character to wear a gas mask is the ghost of Hamlet’s father who will wear it throughout the play. I would also like the final scene to include all dead characters standing up, putting on a gas mask and walking to the front of the stage for an eerie curtain call which would make the audience feel really uncomfortable in true Artaud style. They would be joined by other characters from the play who have died, all wearing various gas masks, and stand in silence at the front of the stage until a blackout draws the play to a close.
Although this is stepping into director’s territory, I feel it really enhances my ideas for the theme of the play and reminds the audience how death is a key element to the play and how it is inevitably a tragedy.
Here are some images of the kind of gas masks I would like to include within my costume designs.