Thursday, April 28, 2011

Something Rotten.

This is the opening scene of an adaptation like as what I wrote of Hamlet. The original play has nothing wrong with it; I just did this because I was asked. I was asked to do this for a school and I thought it might be fun to do it as a victorian music-hall variety show. Not really what they were looking for in the end, but there y'go. This is the opening scene:

Three reserved seats at right angle to the stage area. Perhaps a ‘Chairman’ of the Victorian music-hall style; a single character on a stool next to blackboard upon which the upcoming acts are scrawled in order, ie;

1#The amazing Day Profundis spiritual medium,

2#Rosencrantz and Guildenstern the song and dance men.

3#The roundly players extracts from Shakespeare,

4#A recitation: ‘Pyruss and Priam’ by the prince and the puppet-master.

5#The Light Entertainment, shadow puppet group, present ‘The Murder of Gonzago’

6#Some ‘Queen’ by Prince.

7#Roundly players and other scenes from the bard,

8#Ophelia’s musical medley of madness.

9#‘Display of fencing skill by young noblemen’.

If we have our ‘Chairman’ sitting on a stool with a gavel in hand; he should hit it and call for order from the audience when the house lights are still up, and they’re all fairly noisy.


Lahahdieeez end Gennulmehn! You ah Walcome heah to the
(made up name for the venue) Palace of HEntataynmunt end Hexcelllents tonight, foh aye Show such has we Har deeeloyted to present to yooo, featuring Harteeests of unrivalled Skill hand dexterity which is not to be fahnd ennywhere hin the Danish Hempire!

Nah, we wonts hay good little haudience and vat means no mucking abaht. Vat means if you’ve got somefink wiv you like as what makes noise, we would kindly hand most graciously hask you to fix it nah; like as what it wont make no noise. Hat hall. You heard me.

No gyrations vibrations or other sensations buzzing around in the pockets. All your entertainment will be coming from the stage area.


Vats right madam don’t be shy. We don’t want nuffink disturbing hour harteestes do we? Right, vers a good little haudients.

Hamlet, Marcellus and Horatio come in at his point through the same entrance as everybody else. Preferably ushered in by whoever’s doing Front-of-house, to the reserved seats.


Oh we don’t have to sit here do we?


Welcome gennulmen welcome, the show is abaht to begin;

Hin the hevent of a foyah or some uvver hunpleasant conflagration what is requiring hevacuation; Our hexits are…(Instructions for exits). Women and children first of course and gawd save the king of Denmark.

All done? Right.

Nah before our feehatrickle presentation we Har deeeloyted to tell you vat; by way of a warm up act; we has( angry whispers from backstage) you what? blimey! Before our feehatrickle presentation by way of a warm up ‘hexperience’ Han hextrouadinary yang person ‘oo as hay yoooneeek gift in Psychic Reading hand Mentalistic Powah; hand his no doubt destined for great things in vis field; hand they should know ‘cause they can see right into the fewcha,

Hamlet throws a look of disdain to the others, who raise their eyebrows as if to mime, ’give it a chance’

put your ands togevvah bat keep your minds open for ve yoooneek hand huncanny habilities of: ‘Day Profundis’.(to backstage) Your on!

The Chairman hits the gavel. Lighting change. Enter Day Profundis. The staging of Day’s act can be as ridiculous or realistic as you like. In the style of Victorian magicians they could be wearing: a turban and robes, a coolie hat and yellow fu man chu make-up, a topper, cape and tails, or in the style of nowadays, a modern suit or casual. Similarly the act itself could be ridiculously unconvincing or as near to the actual modern cold-reading spiritualist con-trick (The ‘yes’ and ‘no’ sections do not require an actual spoken yes or no, but the slightest body movement positive/negative should dictate which answer Day Profundis thinks they’re being given) as your actor can carry off.

The following tract is my idea for the
Certainly they should investigate and have fun with it and extend the act past what’s written here.

Day Profundis:

Hello. Good evening ladies and Gentlemen and thank you for your time. My name is Day Profundis and I’m pleased to have your attention and time for a few minutes while we are here together in this room.


Just standing here I can… Yes just standing here there is a sense… I have a sense… a strong sense yes I believe there is a very strong sense of warm and positive energy tonight. There is… yes there is almost… can you feel it? Like an energy, a warm energy… a powerful energy… an energy of love. An energy of anticipation. Yes. Very strong. I would like to thank you for this energy ladies and gentlemen because warmth and positivity and openness are very important to the work I do… and the work I hope to do with you here tonight.


But I’m just talking now and… yes? I have a feeling that not every person in this room is feeling the same way. There is… it’s almost… yes like a frequency, like a warm musical chord emanating, but this…there is another… there are small concentrations of negativity within. Very slight but feelings of… a negative… almost like a disappointment… expectation and… a loss of… I see very clearly in my mind now a man, a young man, wearing, wearing black yes? Does this mean anything? There is a young man. Yes. Now he is very clear and he is talking loudly or maybe singing or shouting its… Does this mean anything to anyone? A young man and he’s holding something… A ball? Something that pertains to his childhood. This image is strong and connects to more than one person in this room. Yes. More than one person in this room is wondering where this man is… I would like to be of help to anyone in this room searching for this young man but something is blocking…

If more than one person laughs, groans or makes any signal that they ‘get it’ during the above underlined reverie; the actor must skip immediately to the following section.

Wait… No it’s gone. I apologise ladies and gentlemen but to see and connect with the spirit world… Is not an exact science. If you can give me a moment, I believe we can try again.


Now I would like you all to take a moment, just a moment to go into yourself and to search and to feel your own connections. We are all connected and I would ask you now to imagine a beam of light like a signal… a strong beam of light coming from within you… emanating from your chest like a strong fibre optic cable coming from within you and saying to the spirit world ‘I am here’ ‘speak to me’. Just now… just for a moment… in silence…

(long pause)

Wait! you miss
(sir/madam whoever)you were just thinking of someone… Yes! There was someone close? Maybe not that close to you but someone yes! Were you thinking of someone?

Audience member:


Day Profundis:

Yes it was very clear.
Audience member:


Day Profundis:

No there was someone there just for an instant

Day Profundis:

…and they were… something in their hands… Are they the person you are thinking of, or may have been… something in their hands… Were they? This person wasn’t a mechanic… or a carpenter?

Audience member:


Day Profundis:

Yes this person had a trade… and now I see a woman… is this?…

Audience member:


Day Profundis:

And this woman… they are,

They’re looking for…

Wait! Who is this woman?

Audience member:


Day Profundis:

Right. Yes it’s so clear…

Audience member:


Day Profundis:

No I didn’t think so but hands… I see them … cooking? Sewing? Gardening? It’s coming clearer now I see a woman…

Audience member:


Day Profundis:

A woman with a strong connection to this person we’re thinking of… who is this woman; Do you know?

Audience member:

I don’t know.

Day Profundis:

You still don’t know, okay; I’m gonna ask you to think…

I’m asking you now to empty your mind and concentrate. Because this is very important. This person has a message for you about something…


There is something about money? Inheritance? Yes?

Something… perhaps a treasured item like a family heirloom. It’s coming very clear that there is, I want you to concentrate on what it might be…

The next part can be done in one of two ways; the easy way and the difficult way that will take hundreds of hours of practice. I would prefer you try the latter.

The first way involves a simple bit of acting; Day Profundis simply adopts a different voice and face for these parts. The second involves a completely different actor bellowing backstage while Day lip-synchs perfectly.

Day Profundis(as the dead KING):


Who do you think it is?

Look I don’t want to spend anymore time talking through this idiot than I have to…

Boy… You’re going to have to do something.

I’m sorry to put it all on you but I have… you have to do something I’m stuck! damn me I’m stuck! And you have to unstuck me and there it is!

STUCK! My soul, my soul is tainted and I cant move! I see it all, my son! And I can do nothing! I see their kisses their caresses! Hate and rage consume me! Hate and rage weigh me down like chains. HOW DARE THEY? How dare they! That bollock of Satan that calls himself King! I MADE Denmark!

Day Profundis(as himself):

I would ask everybody in the audience now to sensitise ourselves and to feel the positive energy flowing…

Day Profundis(as the dead KING):

Silence Moron! I’m talking to my Son!

My anger and rage are what keep me here. I lost my life, I lost my chance to forgive. One thing can set me free and that is vengance! He took it all, everything I ever had and everything I was going to have he took it! My own brother!

Day Profundis(as himself):

When the spirits speak to us we must be open and we must listen. Sensitivity to the spirit world is..

Day Profundis(as the dead KING):

(slapping himself)Shuttup!

He poisoned me! Right in the ear, when I was sleeping! He poured in something to melt my mind and poison my heart! The man who wears my crown, the man who lies on my wife’s belly the man who pretends he’s rightful king of Denmark, the man who would call you son!

You have to do something about it! You have…

Nip!nip!nip!nip! fuzaaaaaahhh!


Fuzzaaahh! Nip! Fuz nip!



Promise me!


I promise Father.

Day Profundis(returning to the audience member):

Yes.. This person who may or may not be a man or a woman or close friends with a man or woman loosely connected with mechanics, carpentry, cookery, or gardening has something important to say to you.

(pause, if anybody giggles-wait for them to stop)

They want you to know that they’re watching you now and that they understand your worries but they want you to know that everything’s going to be alright.

Fizzup, or I should say Fizzap. Nip Nip Nip

Day Profundis(as the dead KING):

Promise me!


I promise.

Day Profundis:

Ummmm yes, I’m feeling very tired now the spiritual forces are very draining tonight and I shant be able to continue…

I would like to thank you all tonight and I hope that this session has been of benefit. If any of you have felt tonight that a perhaps somebody was trying to speak to you but they didn’t get through this time I would remind you that I have had great success with individual sessions which can be arranged for a small fee. Yes. Erm.

Thank you and goodnight.

Hamlet sits in shock. Then gets up to leave without communicating with the others. Who look at each other and then follow him.


Day Profundis ladies and Gennelmen, hand ‘is huncanny habilities! Connecting us wiv the world beyond! Rand of haupplause if you will… Certainly gave you the shivers eh madam?
(to Hamlet, Horatio and Marcellus)

Leaving already gennelmun? You shall miss the best part of the show… There har no refunds y’know…

Yang gennelmun these days!

Hand nah!

I must ask you; ‘ave you lungs?

Ave you?

For you must be prepared to use ‘em,

Ave you feet an ands?

Then you must be prepared to stamp and to clap because it is now my supreme delight to give you the marvellous, the musical, the very very merry…

Roseycratch and Guilderson.....

A backdrop falls of a park scene, Rosencrantz and guildernstern emerge in striped black and white suits with straw boaters and canes under their arms...

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