This play was written for the Dead Crow's Theatre, the very ephemeral amateur theatre company from the University of Geneva English Department. It was performed (only once...Sigh...) in the Parc des Bastions, during the University Student's Garden Party, on May 28, 1997. It was staged by the most regretted Dominic Noble, a very talented young actor who died unexpectedly several years later. His input, humour and energy was a gift to those who participated in this adventure. This play is dedicated to him.
Hamlet: Stephanie Durrleman; Ophelia: Anabel Pestaña; Claudius: Anne Francine Dyer; Gertrude: Deborah Knight, Polonius: Sophie Cadène; Anabel Pestaña; Laertes: Sandra Gaspard; Players: Ilinca Constantinescu, Alessandra Bellini; Clowns: Ilinca Constantinescu, Corinne Schmidt; Priest: Nicholas Pálffy.
Queen Gertrude (Trudy)
Ophelia, daughter of Polonius (Fifi)
Laertes, son of Polonius (Larry)
The Fedex Messenger, the Actor, the Priest, the Pathologist
In the castle garden. Hamlet, dressed as a rapper, is listening rap music. A messenger runs in.
Messenger: Sir, Sir, I've got a message for you. It's from your father, Sir.
Hamlet: From my father? But he's dead!
For Heaven's sake, if in the instant thou don't speaketh,
I'll sever thee eternally from thy breath!
Messenger: Yes Sir! (reads)
Messenger: Dear son. Was murdered.
The bastard now rules Denmark.
Motherfucker is your uncle Claudius.
My soul longs for revenge.
Reply by fax only when done. Love, Dad.
Hamlet: What? Murdered? Zapped? Vaporized?
O nasty stinkin mortal sin
To be knocked off by next of kin!
O cruel fate! O wicked irony!
How cursed is my karma,
For within a month, to lose so excellent a daddy
And be deprived of my mama,
Who, forgetting her only son
And all appearance of reason,
has so rapidly replaced my noble father
For a dirty crooked drunkard
In her lustful and incestuous bed.
Fie! Oh fie! What a terrible shame!
Luxury, woman is thy name!
Father, thy soul shall always survive
As your memory will thrive.
I'll wipe away the goddam skunk,
I'll purge Danemark of that stinkin' punk.
But hold my heart, be still my joints,
'Tis only with favorable auspice
That I'll soon do thee justice.
So better put on a frantic disposition
To cover my ass from retaliation!
(leaving) O curse spite,
That ever I was born for such a plight.
Enter Ophelia and Laertes, talking together. He is carrying a suitcase.
Laertes: I'm off for a while, Sis.
Take care and don't get horizontally involved, promise?
'Bout Hamlet and his insiduous favour
Believe him not, or 'tis done with your honour.
Mark, the gentle manners of a loving clerk
Often but hide the soul of a lustful jerk.
On your choice depends the sanctity of your fate.
If you ever hark to his songs with too credent ear
Or be flatter'd by the prodigality of his desire
Say adieu to your chaste empire.
Ophelia: That's far from what I aspire.
Laertes:Fear it Ophelia! The morbo gallo will quickly infect
Those who don't cover their object
And too soon shall with purple canker infest
The poor creatures with the spaniards' pest.
So don't fool yourself with this boy
He's just a cranky goy.
Thus must he be circum... scribed!
Ophelia: OK, Larry! But do not, dearest brother,
be so concerned 'bout my virtue
if yours is of no value.
Laertes: Fear not for me, sweetheart! And don't bother.
Enter Polonius. The sound of a departing boat is heard.
Polonius: Laertes, get lost, son!
Your boat is waiting and the winds are favourable.
Leave at once, or France shall be unaffordable.
Laertes: Yes dad!
Polonius:Remember, bear our name there most proudly
And don't make a shame of thee.
Laertes: Yes dad!
Polonius: Beware of the little women of Paris
If you're not ready for syphilis.
Laertes: Yes dad!
Polonius:Follow my good advice
And be exempt of vice!
Laertes: Okey-Doke ! Gotcha! Farewell Ophelia!
Polonius: What were you talking about Ophelia?
Ophelia: Oh! We were just chit-chatting about Hamlet, Dad.
Polonius: Fifi, I've already warned you: never talk to a stranger
and don't ever give away your phone number.
The world is already full of abusers
Waitin' to strip you of your little flowers.
'bout Hamlet, speak to him no more.
Polonius: 'Cause he's a schmuck with bats in the top floor.
Ophelia: True... he's a bit weird but...
Polonius: He's too high above your rank
For it not to be a silly prank.
From now on, see him no more,
And don't be a whore!
Ophelia: I'll obey, Oh sweet progenitor!
Polonius, leaving: Oh! and don't forget to take your Prozac,
Or else you'll end up in the lake.
Ophelia is playing nintendo in her chamber. Enter Hamlet, wearing a raincoat. He come to Ophelia, flashes, and leave without saying a word.
Ophelia (crying): Daaaddy!
Polonius: Hush baby, what's the matter?
Ophelia: He gives me the creeps.
Ophelia: That weirdo Hamlet!
I was gently handling my gameboy in the room,
when he rushed in all of a sudden.
He was such a mess, should've seen him,
dressed like Belzebuth himself, a real scarecrow,
with that shifty look in the eye
as if he'd just been released from Hell.
Polonius: Holy Cow! Creuzfeldt-Jakob strikes again!
Did you serve him any beef lately?
Ophelia: Not a single burger. and we stuck to kosher...
Polonius: Mad for thy love?
Ophelia: Dunno. Guess so.
Polonius: Did he talk to you?
Ophelia: Nope. He just stared at me, sighing and trembling,
then left, slamming the door without a word.
Polonius: He seems to have blown a fuse.
Come, let this be known to the King.
Enter King and Queen. They take a seat.
King: Ah! my sweet Gertrude!
Here comes our chamberlain.
Queen: What a hasty temperament!
He makes trenches in the pavement!
Has he seen the black villain
Or does he run to us in vain?
Polonius (bowing): Shalom my Liege, Madam,
I happen to bring bad news
That I hope you'll soon excuse
Once thoroughly exposed;
And since brevity is the soul of wit
And the economy of words my concern,
I shall be brief.
Queen: To our greatest relief!
Polonius: Your royal time is money
So wastin'it would be wacky.
But how should I put it?
Queen: Put it as you want, but do it quick!
Polonius: Yes, My Majesty, it's no time for silence.
Here it is: Your son is crazy,
As sure as A plus B equals C.
But how to define madness?
King: Swiftly speaking...
Queen: Less matter, with more fart.
Polonius: However, of a troubled folly does he suffer
With no remedy to offer.
'Tis then with no further delay
That I'll expose and display
The exact cause of the disease
The how's and why's of his unease.
Consider him nuts, as a fact.
Now, I have a daughter, who, with great tact,
Duty, and strict obedience,
Has informed me of his dalliance,
And has given me this letter:
[he reads the letter]
To my cultish and Celestial idol
the most sexyfied Ophelia...
Polonius: That's just the beginning,
Although not a great opening.
But wait, there's more:
Doubt that the Stars be for hire
Doubt that thunder be stormy...
But never doubt I'm on fire
And that you make me horny.
Queen, shocked: Is *that* from my beloved son?
Polonius: Ay, Madam... and this rather cryptic...
I ain't learned no Ebonics
But U make me ballistics
I just luv your cervix
Let's beat the statistics.
King: Strange words indeed...
But how did she react?
Polonius: Who do you think I am?
King: An obsequious servant to the Crown.
Polonius: Hem... Right! So when I had seen this hot love
I asked her to give him the cold shoulder
Or at least to take a cold shower.
Consequently to which,
He couldn't stand the rebuke,
went on a strict diet,
Switched to melancholia,
Fell into a saturnine lunacy,
Which led him to the present folly.
That's how he got spiders in his hat.
Plainly said: Bad System Error.
King: Is that your analysis?
Polonius; Yeah! and what a bloody crisis!
King: Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go.
I'd better keep an eye on that weirdo.
Music is playing the song "Should I stay or should I go" while Hamlet makes three steps forward and three steps backward. At the end, the record gets messed up and Hamlet starts to show slight signs of insanity.
Hamlet: Am I a sissy? Who calls me stoupid?
But I, from the roots of my id
Feel my hate and ignominy
Rising up my Kundalini!
Aaaah! The bastard! the ugly cockroach
Still clings to my mother's coach.
Alas! My dad prompted me for revenge,
and I still sit here, unable to avenge,
Not knowing who I am or what I'll be.
Yeah! To be, or not to be, that's the bloody question!
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind
To hang around ...or hang myself,
To suffer the stings and burns of bad Fortune,
Or to take arms against such slander
And oppose it with grandeur?
Holy God, when shall I have the guts
to smash his face or kick his butt?
But rest my heart, here comes young Ophelia
With an air for melodrama.
Enter Ophelia wearing a raincoat and s t-shirt that says: "Girls need modems".
Someone seems to be spying behind the curtain. Music: Madonna: Like a virgin!
Ophelia: Hi Ham, what's wrong with you? You look like shit.
Listen, I've got here a rememberance of yours,
That I'm really longing to deliver. (she opens her coat)
Hamlet: Give me a break, baby! and spare your wit.
I'm not your kind of guy
so farewell and goodbye.
Ophelia: I beg a pardon?
Hamlet: This is the end, Ma demoiselle
'Tis time for you,
to hit the road and go to Hell.
Get that printed on your pillow
or go tell the Pope of your sorrow.
I don't give a damn about you, Ophelia,
'bout you and all your ...paraphernalia. (pointing to her belly)
Ophelia: You Danish dog!
My biological clock is ticking like a bell
and all you have to say is: Go to Hell?
Are you crazy or just pulling my leg?
Hamlet: That's a fair thought to pull a maid's leg...
Ophelia: You male chauvinist pig!
Hamlet: Anyway, conception is a blessing,
But not as you may conceive.
Go, go, get thee to a nunnery.
Or if thou needs marry
I'll give you this rhyme for thy dowry.
Marry a fool, for wise men know well enough,
what monsters you make of them.
Go now, you make me mad and sick,
So get lost, and be quick!
Ophelia: You cankerous whoreson liar!
Go hang yourself from the barest tree!
Rich gifts are cheap when sucker proves unkind.
(to the public) Now I, of ladies most deject and hollow,
Am I the victim of Murphy's Law?
Hamlet (singing) To a nursery go go, to a nursery go!
Ophelia: I swear it! Asshole! You'll regret your injury,
And soon gobble the alligators of my fury.
Was *I* supposed to share your throne?
Ha! what a petty mind is here overthrown!
Hamlet: Yeah, Yeah! I know these lyrics,
They're plain hysterics.
But let's get back to *my* outrage
and imagine, with no delay and great rage
a plan to reveal the ugly gall
and confound the slave's offal.
Here it is: I know of a witty group of actors
who'll help me denounce the usurpator.
I'll have them perform a play
In which I'll catch the conscience of the king.
I'll squeeze him by the cojones
And send him, ad patres...
Music (Nino Rota). All enter for the play.
Actor: For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping for your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently...
[The ghost is just a fuzzy shape on a flickering screen]
Ghost, furiously: I'm longing for eternity,
so could you please, dear assembly,
cut the crap out of this story?
The Court, together: Okay Sir, You're the boss!
For your pleasure we'll move across.
Actor, addressing the audience: Dear public,
the point of this appearance
was to confront, in this stance,
the treacherous usurpator,
whose crime against honor
Oh! that of a scavenger!
Longs for its prompt avenger.
Alas! the time's are odd
to tell you all and more.
The fuzzy guy over there, what a poor sod!
Urged us to act no more.
So before taking my leave
Please mark, the king's pissed off
And the Queen's depressive
So watch out, Hamlet, and dont scoff!
And in case you want the full option
Please turn back to Bill's version.
Enter Queen. she takes a seat. Enter Hamlet. Polonius is hidden behind the curtain.
Hamlet: What's up Mum?
Queen: Hamlet, your father feels most insulted.
Hamlet: Motha, *my* father feels more insulted.
Queen: Come, Come, your words are so mean.
Hamlet: Go, go, your means are far worse!
Don't you feel any remorse?
Queen: Are you threatening the Queen?
Hamlet, menacing: Sit down now! And listen!
Queen: Help! help!
Polonius: Help! Help!
Hamlet: What, a rat? Lunch for the cat! (shoots Polonius)
Polonius: O, I am slain! (noise of saucepans falling)
Queen: Alas! What have you done? What a bloody deed!
Hamlet: A bloody deed, indeed! almost as bad, good motha
as to shoot a king, and marry his brotha.
(discovering Polonius) You stupid fool,
Sould've known that life's too short
To gamble it on the wrong sport. Now you- (pointing index)
Queen: What have I done to deserve thy thunderous index?
Hamlet: Nothing! But to live in the rank sweat of an enseamed bed
Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love
Over the nasty sty, -
Queen: Enough! Your words are daggers in my heart! Hush!
Hamlet: O Shame, where is thy blush? [Both freeze]
Ophelia looking pertubed, crosses the stage. She is carrying a stone attached to her ankle.
Ophelia: Why should I be a breeder of sinners?
Enough gentlemen. Good night, ladies.
Good night sweet ladies. Good night.
[She crosses the stage carrying a big stone attached with a rope to her ankle. We hear a scream and the sound of someone falling into water.
In the cemetery. Two clowns are digging a hole. Music from Nino Rota.
Second clown: 'Tis your muddy bed
With sheets of clay and stones
Where you won't eat bread
Cause you'll turn to bones...
First Clown (singing): 'Tis time to dive
Say farewell and jive
Your hole is ready
sleep well and keep steady
First clown: Say, man, did she try to swim across the Channel
or was it for the Guiness Book of Records?
Second clown: Dunno! the girl sunk into desperation
Forgot to take off her chastity belt
And drown'd herself in oblivion.
I guess that's as sad as she felt.
First clown: Well, now she complies with our biodegradability standards.
Second clown: Yeah! I bet she's going to like her permanent habitational unit.
Hamlet: Hi guys! What's up? Oh, that's a nice hole you're digging there.Who's dead?
First Clown: Some... body.
Hamlet: Gee! You just kill me.
Still got software in the skull.
But what's this noise?
The Court enter, following a coffin. Music "Marche funèbre"
Hamlet (apart): Whose corpse is borne with such solemnity?
Haven't we had enough calamity?
Laertes: Is that all you'll do for her?
Priest: Correct Sir. In nomine patri, that's all we can do,
...et filii, ...'Cause her death's kind of unnatural, ...et spiritus sancti,
So give me a break, I've got my job to do now, okay? Amen.
Laertes: So lay her in the ground, you churlish priest,
And from her sweet and *nearly* unpolluted flesh
may something spring...
Hamlet: Ophelia dead? Poor kid.
She didn't make the right bid.
Laertes: Fall ten time treble on that cursed head
Whose incestuous deed thy most wicked sense
Deprived thee of ! Hold off the dirt a while
Till I have her once more in mine arms...
Hamlet: Who is he, whose grief is so insane?
This is I, Hamlet the Dane.
Laertes: The devil take thy soul! (grasping Hamlet by the throat)
Hamlet(holding a gun): Thou pray'st not well!
Hold off thy hand and thy spell!
Queen: Hamlet! Hamlet! [they get separated]
Hamlet: I loved Ophelia more than you did.
What would you do for her?
Weep? Fight? Drink? Eat a crocodile?
King: O he is mad, Laertes!
Hamlet: Have you come here to whine?
Laertes: I'll kill you, you dirty swine!
Wait a minute and I'll make sausage meat of you!
Hamlet: Why don't you like me? Are you angry?
But it is of no matter: the dog will bark
and Diogene will walk his fish.
[Exeunt all except King and Laertestop
King: Have you guts? Where's your courage?
Are you waitin' for sour rage
or are your sorrows empty words?
I tell you: this is a matter of swords.
Laertes: Yeah! Be this my alternative
Or from my father I'm not native.
King: On both your heads I'll wager
And so praise thee, and thine dagger
That Hamlet, believing this blabber,
Will soon fight... and stagger!
Laertes: For that purpose I'll oint my bullets
With dreadful and deadly venom.
King: Good! He will soon perish!
When his thirst to diminish
He'll ask for a pint of ale
It'll be to turn dead pale! HahaHa! (Both laugh)
The fight: Music playing Once upon a time in the West. Enter the Court, then Hamlet and Laertes, ready for the fight. Both are dressed in military fighting uniforms. Each choose a gun.
King: Hamlet! Laertes! Prepare yourself!
Cousin Hamlet, you know the stake
Don't let Denmark suffer a break.
Bring us the stoups of wine!
Now the King drinks to Hamlet.
Hamlet: Ready, sucker?
Laertes: Yeah, scumbag!
Lights off. the public hear the sound of a machine gun shooting. Lights on.
Hamlet: You missed!
Lights off. Sound of shooting again. Lights on.
Hamlet: Missed again!
King: Our son shall win.
Queen: He's on WeightWatchers, and breathing like a mule.
Here, sweetheart, take my handkerchief
and wipe that runny nose.
I'll drink to your honour.
King: Trudy, do not drink!
Queen: Sorry, but I must. (she drinks)
King (apart): It's the poison'd cup, it's too late.
Laertes: I'll have you this time. You'll pay for what you've done.
I'm gonna make holes in your bloody Highness.
You soon won't be waterproof!
Hamlet: I doubt it, you're shooting like a blind donkey
Is that all what you learn at Eurodisney?
They shoot again. Both are wounded. Laertes falls down.
The Queen falls too, dying.
Hamlet: Mommy, what's wrong with you?
Queen: The drink's poisoned. O Annus horribilis, I'm dying. Argh! [Dies.]
Hamlet: O Vilainy! Who's the bastard?
Laertes: Hamlet, I got you, twice. I poison'd the bullet.
You're a dead man walking.
Your mom's dying too. The King's to blame.
Hamlet: What? Then strike back my gun. (He shoots the King)
Here, have some lead in your wicked head
You damned, incestuous, bloody Dane.
Meet my mother in Hell, you adulterate beast!
Laertes: Well done buddy. Sorry for the trouble,
T'was nothing personal, man, just the bad Zeitgeist.
Farewell, I'm dead now, See'ya up there, man. [Dies]
Hamlet: I'm dying too.
Haven't got time to tell my bloody story to my psychiatrist.
But it is of no matter; It will soon spread all over the Globe.
I'm gone now. The rest is silence. Dies.
> Music plays a marche funèbre. Enter the clowns. They cover the deads with with sheets. After a while the deads stand up and leave the stage in a procession of ghosts.top
The castle.Enter Rosencrantz (left). Enter Guildenstern (right). They see each other and scream loudly, leaping into the air.
Rosenkrantz: By the foreskin of Moses, Is that you Guido?
Guildenstern: By the white bones of Adam, is that you Rocco?
Rosenkrantz: No shit! I thought you wuz *dead*, man!
Guildenstern: Hey, I thought *you* wuz dead too! Gimme *five* man!
[they clap each other's hands and they embrace]
Guildenstern: Hey, where's Hamlet? Where's everybody?
Rosenkrantz: Hamlet's history. They're *all* history.
Guildenstern: Hamlet? Dead? Poor kid. What happened?
Rosenkrantz: Dunno. We're waitin' for the lab report.
Guildenstern:: Looks like there was a serial-killer around.
Is this a remake of Pulp Fiction?
Pathologist: Oh that mine eyes were even as the bleeding orbs of Oedipus
of ancient fame, ere it should fall to my doleful lot to bear my
sorry news of woe! Even as Phidippides from Marathon's
crimsoned field have I lately...
Rosenkrantz: Yeah, yeah... Gimme the pictures (he takes them, and Guildenstern looks on)
Guildenstern: Fuck! He got killed by that tiny scratch?
Pathologist: In very Sooth! For even as the serpent, venom-fanged,
that creeps on Africa's distant shores, so dripped the base knave's
blade that laid to rest the noble Prince!
Rosenkrantz (whistles): So they snuffed him with just that little scratch?
Pathologist: Alas! Lord Hamlet! A most unfortunate prick!
Exeunt. Music from the Adam's Family.
*** THE END***top
(c) Copyright Nicholas Palffy, 1996.
All rights reserved. Epilogue: based on an idea from John Scott.
Many Thanks to: The Almighty, who has kindly provided the humble author the necessary hardware and software to write this play. To my parents, who have downloaded streams of data and porridge into my neural network for a couple of decades. Thanks also to Dominic Noble, Stephanie Durrleman, Anne Francine Dyer, Deborah Knight, Sophie Cadène, Anabel Pestaña, Sandra Gaspard, Ilinca Constantinescu, Alessandra Bellini, Corinne Schmidt, of the English Students' Theatre, for their precious comments, advice, criticism that undoubtedly helped improve the play throughout its various stages.
Thanks also to Annie Lefèvre, Danielle Sevette and Marie Periat from the Activités Culturelles for their precious help and encouragement.