Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Something Rotten 6

Enter Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern carrying Duty free bags.


Here we are. Nice! Very nice! So what’s the gig again?


Hamlets lost his marbles and we get to hang around until he gets better.


Well then the smart thing to do is make him crazier.

The longer he’s loopy, the longer our stay at casa del kingo.


Maybe. But don’t forget, that boy gets dispatched to the funny farm were gonna find ourselves surplus to requirements.


Good point.

Sound of Trumpets enter the King and Queen.


Welcome dear Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern.

We’re so glad you could make it, aren’t we dear?

The boyhood friends of Hamlet here at last.

You have not arrived one moment too soon.

You’ll find Hamlet transformed inside and out,

We don’t know what on earth the problem is,

Unless his fathers death… perhaps that’s it.

Since you and Hamlet all were friends at school,

We’d hoped you stay with us a little while,

And help to bring him out of these black moods,

perhaps you’ll find, the cause of it, perhaps?

Then maybe we can fix it. With your help.


He’s talked of you so often, both of you.

He said you made him laugh, make him laugh now.

If you can be of help to us in this,

you wont go unrewarded, We promise.


Well thank you your magisterials.


We promise your monarchic highnesses we’ll leave no stone interned.


Then gentlemen you have our gratitude.


Sincerest thanks to both of you for this.

Now please good sirs, go to him right away.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.

Polonius enters.


Norwegian Ambassador to see you my lord.


Excellent. You always have good news Polonius.


Thank you my lord. I do the best I can.

And prhaps I could have better news again,

I think I might know what’s ailing the prince.


Well then this is good news, do tell us more.


The ambassador approaches. Please my lord,

I’ll talk of this as soon as he is gone.


Then bring him here at once, and lets begin.

Polonius exits


He says he has it figured out my dear,

The problem that young Hamlet has, I mean.


I don’t suppose it’s any mystery.

His Mothers Wedding was too close to his Fathers funeral. It’s hard on him.


We’ll soon find out.

Polonius and Voltemand enter.

Good ambassador of Norway come, speak.


Greetings to you from the Norwegian King.

Whose raised an army under Fortinbras,

Which would, by your good leave, proceed at once,

Unhinder’d down through Denmark and then west,

To Poland for to fight a campaign there.


Well I can forsee no objection.

I’ll deal with this more fully when we’ve time.

As things stand now, let’s say I’m not opposed.

Thank you and thank the king, send our regards,

We wish him every success in his plan.


Your Highness.

Voltamande exits


Well that went well, if I may be so bold.

Of course it’s not for me to comment on,

Great matters between kings, what duty is,

Why day is day, night, night. and time is time.

To speculate would waste day night and time.

And since clear thinking’s almost always brief,

And waffle is a sign of no ideas,

So I shall hit the nail upon the head,

And Come straight to the point, indeed, oh yes.

I wont prevaricate about the bush;

I’ll keep this brief your highness, Hamlet’s mad.

Well I say ‘mad’ but really, what is ‘mad’?

What’s Sanity? What’s madness? which is which?

You’d lose your marbles trying to decide.



Oh Please get to the point Polonius.


That is the point, your highness. Mean to say

It’s a pity, but it’s true, pity but true

And that it’s true’s a pity; but my point.

The boy is mad. So all we need to ask,

Is why is he mad, Yes? Cause and effect.

Or cause and defect. He’s defective; yes?

And something has affected him, the cause.

So it remains, Or I remain to say:


I’ve a daughter, (at the moment I do)

Who, in duty to her father, gave me this,

He takes out a letter

Listen now and tell me what you think:

‘To the idol of the heavens and the idol of my soul,

Beautified Ophelia’

‘beautified’ hmpf. Anyway, it gets worse:

‘to the heart that beats in that perfect form’ etc.


Hamlet wrote this to her?


There’s more, I’ll read it all, I wont take long:

‘Doubt that the stars are on fire

Doubt that the sun’s burning too,

Call truth itself a damn liar,

But never doubt I love you.

Dear Ophelia, as you can see, poetry is hardly my strength. I cant put into words my feelings. But I do know I love you something rotten. I love you more than anyone else ever has or will,

Yours forever for as long as I breathe. Hamlet.’

My daughter, after some persuading, dutifully showed me this.

And told me all about this liason

And also when and where they’ve met, of course.


And how has she responded to this love?


What type of daughter do you think I’d raise?


A decent one I’m sure,


Exactly so.

Now tell me what you would have done yourself.

If you discovered this was going on?

I thought it most unsuitable, I did.

Hamlet’s much too high born, much too much.

I told her to put Hamlet from her thoughts,

Refuse all gifts, all letters, meet no more.

And this she did, and that (I hoped) was that.

But Hamlet, then rejected got depressed,

Depressed, he doesn’t eat and doesn’t sleep.

And now he’s gone so weak he can’t think straight.

So everything has gone from bad to worse.

This is A cycle that repeats itself.

And has him in the state that he’s in now.

That so upsets us all.


You really think that that’s what’s going on?


Has there ever been a time,-I’d like to know

That I have told you what is going on

And I made a mistake?


Not that I know.


If I am wrong in this, chop off my head.

I always find the truth out in the end.

No matter how well hidden, that’s my job.

As kings advisor, as I see it, Lord.


How will we test this theory?


He likes to walk these halls hours at a time,


That’s right, he does.


Next time that he does it, they will meet.

I’ll bring my daughter here and they will meet.

You wait with me behind this tapestry,

Observe what happens, if he’s not in love,

And mad from love, then sack me on the spot.

And I’ll go off and live a farmers life.


We’ll try it.


Here he comes now. Poor boy.


Let me alone with him, I’ll question him,

And figure out his motives and his mind.

Exit Queen and King

And how are you today Lord?


I am well.


Do you know who I am?


Yes! You make your living by fishing. You are a fisherman then.


No that’s not me.


Pity. It’s an honest days work.




An honest man in this world is as rare as hens teeth.


Sadly true my Lord.


You have a daughter?




Well be sure and stop her from sunbathing in front of the soldiers, or else you’ll be the one who gets burnt.


So still obsessed with my daughter, then!

But he doesn’t know me from a fishmonger.

He’s in a bad way. I’ve been close to this heartbreak myself, in my youth.

What are you reading my lord?




And what’s the subject matter?


Y’know I don’t think it matters at all.


I mean what is in the book, what’s it about?


There’s slander in it. Says here:

Old men have grey beards and wrinkles,

With eyes that dribble with pus like sap out of a tree, that they are plentymany thick except for their legs which are thin, weak and bony.

I don’t believe anyone should ever write things like this, just because it’s absolutely true.

Time happens to all of us and you’ll be my age one day if you ever get sneaky enough to age backwards.


Yes. Will you come below and out of this air sir?


Below and out of the air. You wish to bury Me?


Well he’s obviously mad, but how mad and why mad I’m still not sure; I’ll have to arrange his meeting with my daughter.

My Lord, I’ll take my leave.


You’re leave? Take it. Take your leave.

I don’t want it. There’s nothing I’d rather part with than your Leave. Except my own life. Yes, except that.

Tedious old fool!


Good day, sweet prince.


Sweet prince, good day.


Well Rosenkrantz and Guildernstein how goes it boys?

Its good to see you. so, how are y’both?


Were fair to middlin, middlin fair to fair,


We pray to god every night for the opportunity to show him that winning the lottery wont change us but so far he hasn’t taken us up on the offer.


(laughing)So same as ever then. What brings you to this prison, boys?


What? Three square banquets a day, and farting through silk?

If this is prison, lock me up for life!


I spose it all depends on your attitude,


Attitude, and altitude, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed but when your station in life is this elevated, financial pressure drops.


Yeah Hamlet it’s all a matter of altitude, you’ve just been living the high life too long. What have you got to complain about.


Oh nothing much. I’ve just had some bad dreams I think. Lately.


Well now you can relax ‘coz we are here,


That’s Here and at your service, day and night.


I have enough of servants ,serve yourselves.

But what brings you two scamps to Elsinore?


We thought that this was Copenhagen no?


Musta taken a wrong turn at Albequerque.


No seriously lads, just tell me, why’d you come?


Oh you know…


how boring town can get, this time of year.


Straight up. were you two sent for. By the king?


Us? Us? Were we sent for?


By the king?


You were, your faces show it plain as day.


Oh you and your plain face!, Prince whatcha mean?


I mean if we are friends then be honest.

Look, either you were sent for or you weren’t

If you came of your own accord that’s fine,

But if you guys were summoned tell me now.


Well not ‘summoned’; invited shall we say?


Of course you were! And Will I tell you why?

Look I’ll do all the talkin’: you keep schtum.

That way you’ll keep your promise to the king.


Don’t let us stop you.


Okay the king ‘invited’ you to court

Because it seems I’m ‘loosin’ it. Poor lad.

He’s gloomy and he doesn’t move about.

There’s something wrong with his whole outlook and…

And this wonderful world rich living world where we reside, Is just a lonely pointless empty rock in my sore eyes. The air around me, the sky above me, studded with golden stars, this majestic and fantastical life-giving atmosphere to me is only so much bad and burning gas. And humanity itself, the only moral animal, noble, conscientious in its consciousness, self aware, self-propelled and self fulfilling. Is, from my point of view, a blemish on nature and a revolting corrupting poisoning cancer on the planet. I can see no good in man. I see no good in woman either if that’s what you’re laughing at.


I’m sorry Your highness. I didn’t mean to smile.


What’s funny?


Well I was just thinking about those guys

That we met in the plane, the puppeteers,

They reckoned that you’d like to see the show.

Some sappy happy tale they do for kids.

But feeling as you seem to feel I’d say

That you are in no mood for puppet shows.


What? Come again? What puppeteers? What’s this?


Oh you remember them, what were their names?


They did it all with shadows.


They still do.


The shadow puppet guys? From wittgentstein.

The shadows and the voices? They were good.

‘Light Entertainment’ yes! That was the name!


‘Light Entertainment’ tour in Denmark now,


Well if they make it here, I will be glad.

I think I’d rather look at puppets than at people.

I hope they come to court, I will be glad.

But not as glad as I am seein’ you two.

Everyone says I’m mad, well iddint true.

Depends on how the wind blows, now at you.

But I can tell a scabby hole from a pock-mark.

Polonius enters


Evening gents.


C’mere, c’mere; watch this big baby still in his nappies.


Nappies and old people go together. It’s all ahead of us.


I bet he will announce the puppet-show:

‘I said to him “if that’s your attitude, y’know what you can do” and there was no more said about it. And I was glad in the end. Oh hi there baloney-pis!


My Lord , I have some news.


All the news that’s fit. to Prince.


Some entertainment, lord.


Eccky Eccky Ptoing. WhuP!


My lord?


(singing)That’s entertainment!


Entertainment Yes. Of the highest standard. Working in the medium of light. So accomplished and adaptable. They can do tragedy, history, comedy, tragic history, comic history, historic tragedy or a comedic tragedy based on historical events. They operate in the strictest classical tradition of the new and avant-garde. A most excellent company my lord.


(singing) Whut I hate about fightin’ back

This ol’ buzzard gonna break ma back.

Oh lord cant you line em? Shakkallaka,

Oh lord cant you find em? Shakkallaka,

Oh lord were’d you hide em? Shakkallaka,

See how we’s gonna find that crack!


Crack my Lord?


Well I cant say ‘chink’ can I?

Not with china the price it is!


Hidin from the young girl,

Pullin’ down the shade.

Hatin’ all the promises Mom done made,

Oh lord cant you line em? Shakkallaka,

Oh lord cant you find em? Shakkallaka,

Oh lord were’d you hide em? Shakkallaka,

Shine up the shadow and we find that crack!


‘Hiding the young girl’ he means me and Ophelia.

Puppeteer* enters

(*This Part might be played by The Chairman).


And now for something completely different.

Well hidey Ho! Here comes the Shadow Man!

You used to stand and tell the tale in rhyme.

While someone moved the puppets: am I right?

You used to do some cracking stuff.indeed.

What was the one? Do you still do it Now?


My lord?


The thing…the thing you did what was it called?

The big long poem thing. What’s the name again?


I’m sorry.


No your not. What was it called?

The thing was set in ancient Troy I think.

Ah yes! I know it now, it went like this:


And Pyrhuss then, with blackened face and knife,

Black like his cold intentions in the night

While waiting in that wooden horse to kill,

Now found himself a darker colour still.

Now found himself bestained with rich red blood.

The blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons.

Baked on to him by that false burning sun,

That was the city torched. A damning light,

Illuminating murder in the night,

With serpents eyes he seeks grandfather Priam…

What’s the rest of it?


Well fair play my Lord! Some memory!


…With serpents eyes he seeks grandfather Priam…

And then he finds him…

feebly, old man Priam, makes a stand,

His antique sword, too heavy for the man,

Falls from his hand. A flash. And Pyruss blade.

Strikes wide ,In his exhaustion, Priam falls.

As he collapses, then collapse the walls.

Of the old fortress, spewing flames in sheets.

The mighty walls come crashing; to complete,

The battlements with force beat to the ground.

With violent, brutal, deadly deafening sound,

That seems to still the air and Pyruss sword.

Stops rigid in the air above the head,

Of the old man. a Frozen moment. Dead.

Quite dead of movement, as a statue, still.

A painting of ‘the moment of the kill’.

And trapped in time just there with sword he stood.

And did nothing.

But. As, we have observed, amid a storm,

The sky grow silent, clouds begin to calm,

The Strong winds hush, the world, in silence lies,

Dumb as the grave, Till thunder tears the skies,

And rips the landscape. So it happened then.

That Pyrhuss vengance flamed in him once more.

The Cyclops hammer, in the days before.

That beat the armor made for Gods to wear,

More gently hammered on the anvil there,

Than Pyrhuss’ sword now fell upon Priam.

If fate suffers injustices like these.

Then fate’s an evil monster, down with fate!


A Bit over the top for my taste.


Don’t mind him, if it’s not a song or a dirty joke, he falls asleep. Do the bit about Hecuba… The queens reaction to her husbands murder.


Hecuba? Oh yes (reciting)

But where is now the baffled, stumbling queen?

Barefeet among the flames, eyes blind with tears.

No crown , a ragged scarf above her ears.

And for a robe, a blanket sheilds her frame.

Snatched quickly from the black and choking flames.

What use is fate or providence or luck?

When it abuses innocents this way?

If Gods can see, or hear the sound she made,

As she saw Pyrhuss mid blood smoke and dirt,

There butchering the body for his sport.

The wailing that came from her broken heart.

Would make the burning stars cry milky tears,

And all of heaven shudder.


And now he has upset himself! No more!


You must recite this fully some time soon.

Polonius, look after these men well,

These artists create history do they not?

Someone might write the story of our lives.

I’d hope they’d treat us fairly wouldn’t you.


I always treat artists with the respect they deserve.


Well that’s not good enough. If we were all treated as we deserve there’s probably not one of us would escape being whipped in the street. Treat them better than they deserve, and that way you can call yourself a generous man.


My lord. Come sirs.


He’ll sort you out good people, by the way,

You used do ‘The murder of Gonzago’.


We still do.


Great. We’ll have that on tomorrow night. I wonder would you mind if a changed a line or two here and there before you put it on?


As you wish your majesty.


Okay then go with Polonius and don’t laugh at him too much.

Polonius and Puppeteers exit.


Rosenkrantz, Guildenstern, thank you for your time.


What? Okay! Yes your majestic!

Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern exit


So I’m Alone at last. Oh God above!

What am I doing here? But wasting time?

A useless pointless gutless prattling fool.

That Puppeteer put more into his poem,

That I put in my life! A bloody poem!

some rhyming words, and still he almost cried.

His heart and soul possessed, his body shaking,

With passion for a poem that’s about nothing!

Feckin’ Hecuba!

What’s he to Hecuba? Or her to him?

That Hecuba upsets him? Christ above!

What would he do with my conundrum then?

There’s cause for tears; enough to drown the stage,

He’d split the air by howling such a scream

His rage would drive the Guilty mad with fear.

He’d terrorise his listeners to down to their marrow,

He’d break their ears he’d make their eyeballs bleed.

But me.

But me ,But what Am I doin’? nothin’ much.

I mope, and grumble, unable to speak.

Where is no Scream to roar out from my soul.

Not even for a murdered father, no.

not for a stolen kingdom, stolen love.

Cowardly, ineffectual, excuse for a son!

Coward! Idiot! Weak, spineless fool!

nothin’ but a chickenhearted, yellow, whining brat!

I’m this, and worse, I am. I know I am.

(Starts laughing)

Well Here’s a gobshite, lettin’ on he’s mad,

And driving himself mad on his own time,

What if I’m wrong? I could be wrong. A ghost.

What is a ghost? And can you trust a ghost?

What if I just imagined? Or, if not.

Who says that Ghosts are honest? Who says that?

For all I know I could be mad for real.

A ghost is not enough, it’s just a ghost.

But no. I’m sure I feel it in my heart.

I know it!

It’s in his eyes its there, as plain as day.

Just one more thing and then I will be sure.

Just one more thing to prove to me I’m right.

A trap of lights and shadow for the king.

The show that we go see tomorrow night.

Will re-enact my Fathers death exact.

Exactly as the ghost said that it was.

If there is any guilt inside his heart.

I’ll know by his reaction to the scene.

For every nasty crime has got two sides,

Pride in completion, fear of being discovered.

A fear that I’ll awaken with a start.

And using as my voice: a puppet show.

I’ll speak and say directly: ‘Someone knows’.

Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern.

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