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by
Gene Tyburn

 

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Hamlet
Act 1 Scene 1

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Antony & Cleopatra

Macbeth

Iago

CHEKHOV



Ominous music, mist and fog of night and we see the parapets of Elsinore Castle above. Muffled cannons roar and a bell’s tolls in the night, mixed in with the orchestration. Hamlet comes part way down the parapet and sits and sings to the stars in a state of wonderment.

It’s important to note that our boy Hamlet is very bright, but he is only 18 years old and this accounts for his sometimes rash behavior. He sings.


Hamlet

What a piece of work is man.
How nobel in reason.
How infinite in faculties,
in form and reason, how express and admirable.
In action, how like a God.
The beauty of the world,
The paragon of animals.
Yet, Man delights not me.

The lights go off on him, and the lights come up on his friend Horatio, Hamlets school mate from Wittenberg who is standing below facing the audience.

Horatio

Look and hear the musing of this prince of Denmark. His goodly mind turned to conflicted thoughts. Returned he from bookish Whittenberg to find his world counter point to his going forth.

His much beloved father, King... now dead.
Buried quick with little pomp
and his graceless uncle ruling in his stead.

His beauteous Mother
Once a comfort when he left for school
is now re-married to this inscrutable.
As school mates do we wondered through dank Elsinore's passage ways
speaking little and puzzled much
over this twist in fortunes face.

Then, of a sudden the other night,
a ghost doth appear
that much resembled young Hamlets father,
head to toe.

I saw it too or would not report it so.


A musical thunder clap and lighting cut across the sky and the ghost of Hamlets father, the king in full armor stands up on the parapets with a spear in his hand.

He is unsubstantial glowing but real enough. As he starts to sing one can assume he is in agony. Hamlet is standing below looking up at the apparition.


Ghost

I'm thy fathers spirit!
Doomed for a certain time to walk the night
Until the crimes I have done are purged away.
but if thou did'st love they father much
Now!
Now is the time to say!

Hamlet

O God!
I did!
I do!

Ghost

Then revenge my foul and most un-natural MURDER!

Hamlet

I knew it!
I knew it!
Let me know that I may sweep to my revenge
This very day!

Slower tempo with tingling violins full of danger.

Ghost

The serpent that did sting thy father's life
Now wears the royal crown and frolics with his wife.



Hamlet

My Uncle?
Oh my prophetic soul!


Ghost

Ay, that incestuous, adulterous beast
poured poison in my ear whilst I did sleep.
Robbing me of crown, of Queen, and eternal peace.
With all my imperfections on my head.
O and sent me to to this place
that all do rightly dread!

Then in agony a moaning sounds and a cacophony of crunching grinding steel plates of a great door closing , then in still greater fear the ghost sings.

O the dawn approaches.
As for your Mother, do her no harm, my son.
Leave her to heaven. There is a thorn in her Bosom
that will sting her well enough when all is done.
Adieu
Adieu
Remember me.
Remember me.
My loving son.


Hamlet

Ay, poor ghost I shall
I shall!
Locked you are in my memory
from this day forth,
for eternity.

The lights go down on Hamlet and up on Horatio

Horatio

Much shaken, he returned to me that night
and made me pledge
I would not reveal of what we saw or said.

Hamlet hold out his dagger.

Hamlet

Swear upon this daggers hilt!

Horatio

I swear... then reveled he this,
"The apparition my well have been my fathers ghost who bids me seek revenge upon his brother,
for his untimely death...
but yet...
but yet!"

Our Prince fearing perdition
more than seeking hot revenge
needs more proof's before he carries out the wishes
of a cold and vaporous apparition.

Hamlet

Thoughtfully

A father murdered, and a mother's honor stained.
To ferret out this tangled web
I will talk in riddles... and act insane!

Then in a passion again

O that knavish undeserved!
My father's brother!
Ha!
A man of greaves petty faults renowned
Unfit to wear great Denmark's royal crown!
Oh Horatio
The times are out of joint.
O cursed spite
that ever I was born...
to set it right!