Originally commissioned for the 2013 theatre conference: "Action, Scene, and Voice: 21st Century Dialogues with Edward Gordon Craig," Hamlet's Last Act is a meeting of Balinese Wayang Kulit and Edward Gordon Craig's designs for Hamlet. Craig, who collected and wrote about Wayang Kulit, devised an entire staging of Hamlet through a collection of original woodblock prints that bear striking resemblance to shadow puppets. Hamlet's Last Act features a number of these prints as fully realized puppets, combining Craig's designs with the figured forms traditionally found in Balinese Wayang Kulit.
The show presents the final scenes of Hamlet, cut so as to reflect the dramatic structure of a traditional Wayang Kulit performance. As in Bali, the main puppeteer (dalang) performs all the characters, accompanied by two assistants in moments of complex manipulation.
Alongside the puppeteers, the musicians play ten-keyed metallophones known as the gender, which feature a different musical scale from that of the gamelan gong kebyar. The music for Hamlet's Last Act was selected and performed by I Nyoman Wenten, accompanied by Hirotaka Inuzuka, Joti Rockwell, and Bill Alves.
Sam designed and created all the puppets featured in the show, employing traditional Balinese techniques that require use of a collection of small blades and a wooden hammer to punch holes in cuts of tanned cow hide.
Hamlet's Last Act premiered in March of 2013. It has since been featured at Giri Kusuma, an evening of Balinese Music and Dance in Los Angeles.