Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Hamlet: The Ultra-Condensed Version

Mel and I went to Stratford on Saturday for a fun double-header of Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew.

I give you, for your enjoyment, Hamlet: Abridged

Guards: GHOST!

Horatio:  How now, guards! Was that a ghost I saw?


Guards and Horatio: Good Lord this is terrifying

[meanwhile at a wedding party]

Claudius: blah blah blah royal duty blah blah
Gertrude: giggle
Hamlet:  I am going to stand here like a statue and curse all women for being as fickle as my mother who but a month after the death of my father is marrying this lout.
Claudius: come Hamlet! Stop standing all aloof like Darcy at a country dance, join us and we shall all kiss
Hamlet: *rolls eyes*

[First of many existential soliloquies]
[amidst the growing tension of a faraway random geographically-implausible war between England, Poland, Norway and Denmark]

Polonius: now Laertes, before you off for France, let me tell you and your fair virginal sister Ophelia some nuggets of wisdom.
*does so, loquaciously*

Ophelia: I think I am in love with Lord Hamlet
*twists daisy chain*

So you see, Ophelia, I thought we had a future; but it turns out I prefer Horatio and also I am playing mad.

Horatio: Hamlet, you gotta come see this ghost who looks like your dead dad
Hamlet: *existential moanings of woe*

*Hamlet, Horatio and Guards chase ghost*

Ghost: Hamlet, my son, I have not come to weird you out. Rather, to tell you your douchebag uncle Claudius put poison in my ear and killed me to get your mom.  Please avenge my death.

*Hamlet wallows loquaciously in a  murky haze of indecision, fake madness and existential soliloquies of which here are some highlights*:

Polonius: I know what is troubling you, young man. Love for my daughter.
Hamlet: words words words. Buzz buzz buzz

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern : you be a little weird, yo
Hamlet: Hawk and a handsaw!

Ophelia: oh lord Hamlet, I do take your madness harshly; perchance because we have done the deed and according to my later suicidal presentation of flowers, many symbolizing abortive powers, you may have knocked me up
Hamlet: Get thee to a nunnery

PLAYERS: we have come to play! And entertain!  Perchance to help you forget the looming English-Polish-Norwegian-Danish conflict that plays off stage left throughout this whole thing.
Hamlet: Can you guys do Murder of Gonzago? Except, I will totally write a few extra lines?
PLAYERS: we see nothing odd about this at all. Totally fine with this.

[more existential Hamlet soliloquies]

PLAYERS: *reenact death of Hamlet’s father what with poison and such*
Claudius: I’ll be damned. They're on to me

[Hamlet: more existential soliloquies and indecision and inaction]

Gertrude: son Hamlet, why do you hate me so?
Hamlet: You’re totally shacking up with my murderous uncle.  *Kills Polonius accidentally*

Claudius: we shall send Hamlet away to England hope he dies
Audience: but isn't England one of the countries in this implausible war?
Shakespeare:  the political and military stuff isn't supposed to make sense here, you guys. If you want all that, go see one of the Henrys. 

Ophelia: woe! My father is dead. I have lost my mind. I might be pregnant. In fact, in this Stratford production I am!

Laertes: Behold! I return from France.  WTF! My dad’s dead and my sister is looney. What did you guys do?

Claudius *cough* Hamlet *cough*

[Ophelia:drowns herself after talking a lot about flowers ]

Gertrude: *proceeds to describe in great detail how Ophelia died leaving everyone to ponder why no one inevitably watching this slow and easy to recount in great detail death, didn’t go and save her*

Laertes: REVENGE!!!!

[Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead]

Hamlet: Horatio! LOOK! I am back from England! I was almost killed and drowned and stuff. Let’s take a detour by the graveyard

[gravedigger. Skull. Yorick.]
[Ophelia funeral]

Claudius: I have an idea, Laertes.  Let’s poison Hamlet in a made-up fencing tournament.  You will nick him with your sword. And if that doesn’t kill him we’ll have a goblet of poisoned wine as a backup.
Laertes: sure!

Hamlet: the readiness is all!
Audience: can you please die so we don't have to have another soliloquy?

Hamlet and Laertes *fence fence fence*
 Cladius: drink from this goblet, Hamlet, you look thirsty.
Hamlet: meh!
Gertrude: mmm wine. Gimme *drinks and dies*
Claudius: *dies*
Laertes: *dies*
Hamlet *dies*
Fortinbras: Ummm, okay. I think I showed up at the wrong time! I am part of the plot involving the English-Polish-Norwegian-Danish war.
Horatio: *sniffing* I forgot about that
Fortinbras: No worries. I think everyone did. Hamlet looks like a nice guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. LET US BURY HIM AS A SOLDIER

The end.

this is basically a love story between these two 


Gina said...

"WTF! My dad’s dead and my sister is looney. What did you guys do?"


Love it. You so totally have to watch the MST3K Hamlet. You SO TOTALLY have to. For years I had a message board avatar with the line "Hamlet faxed me a soliloquy!" on it.

Heather NZ said...

That may be the best summary of Hamlet I have ever read.

melanie said...

So good. Except none of the drama profs I ever had would get this. "You know what we should do? Teach this play to death in every single drama class ever - even if it is modern drama. We'll just give Hamlet a cellphone."