Monday, January 24, 2011

Hamlet, for a Queer Aye ~ an alternate ending

Hamlet, prince of Denmark, 20 to 35
Horatio, Hamlet’s best friend, 20 to 35
Fortinbras, prince of Norway, 20 to 35, a very large man

Medieval. 1200th year of our Lord.

Elsinore castle in Denmark, Throne room, scene of a bloody massacre. Dead bodies are imagined in specific locations. A chalice containing a single large pearl or gaudy ring is positioned prominently Downstage.

Large single white pearl or gaudy ring
Bloody sword
Bugle or horn

Hamlet V, ii
(HAMLET staggers on, bloody sword in hand)
O proud death,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast strook!

(enters smiling)
Aye, tis such a pity. Left standing here is only me
And you, Prince Hamlet, of late, king of Denmark. (kneels)

No, bosom friend, arise! Something is rotten in the state
of Denmark. Horatio, how comes it now to pass
That so many noble princes are dead?
(points to the imaginary dead, as Horatio indicates dislike for each of them)
Too-too-proud Laertes, who like you
was a brother unto me.
Claudius, uncle and would-be king.
And my own mother, gentle Gertrude…

(coughs into hand) Slattern!


O nothing.

May God show mercy upon her soul.
And that old fool Polonius too?

Aye. Even Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead.


(gently takes sword from Hamlet) Shhhh…thinketh not upon it.

What, the fair Ophelia! Drown’d!
I lov’d Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum.


Horatio, how comes it now that all this death
is visited upon Elsinore?

(beat) O, I killed them. Uh huh. I killed all of them. For you, bosom friend. (takes Hamlet’s hands) For us.

O horror! O treason! O Horatio!
I would not hear your enemy say so,
Nor shall you do my ear that violence
To make truster of your own report
Against yourself. Why sayest thou these infernal lies??

Lies? Hamlet, everybody knoweth that which we are
that which we have always been
inside the other’s heart. Bosom friend?
How now Hamlet, have you forgot me?
Forgot how gaily did we play as youth.
Forgot the romantic plays you once wrote for me,
Romeo and Horatio? Hamlet and Juliet?
Ah you always did love theater!
Forgot how we shared but a single bed
in our dorm room back at Wittenberg? College, Hamlet!

(chokes) Friend, I thought that we were…I mean…
Aye! like unto brothers! Unburdening the other’s load,
simply lending a hand.

(points sword at Hamlet)
O I see! So thou didst believe that merely because
my name rhymeth with felatio that I…

Horatio! Brother!
The dead people…?

O! Aye, I killed them all Hamlet.
Your slattern mother and treacherous uncle-father, 
I mean, how weird is that?
And that entire Polonius clan, scheming to wed the
hussy daughter onto the throne of Denmark!
Ophelia, O I am so fwagile. I am cwazy!
“They say the owl was a baker’s daughter.”
That wing-nut needed but the barest push to tumble
headlong into the brook .
And her brother, the noble Laertes? 
That Mary wanted you for herself!
But I don’t know why I killed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.


Nevermindeth. I killed them Hamlet. Sweet prince,
now made Denmark’s rightful king.

But why, Horatio?

Because the king is law. Because as king,
you have the power to legalize same-sex union,
that forthwith two men in love may wed in nuptial bliss.
And about time too! We are nigh upon the year 1200!
And then, you and I will live as husband and… er…
as King and…Royal Consort!
Everyone who stood in our way…in your way…is dead.

But how comes it that noble Laertes is killed?
We did but duel in sport, and I but scratched his arm.

Unbated and envenomed was your blade.
Thou knowest that I prefer thy blade unbated.

(fades into a trance or the onset of seizure) O what a rogue and peasant slave am I…

O boy! Please, retreat not into soliloquy.
Enough of your endless self-analysis and internal dialog!  
To whom do you speak Hamlet? There is but you!
And I. Come back to me sweet prince, back to Elsinore,
And for once in your life maketh a God damn-ned decision!

But Horatio…what is the question?

To be…King and Royal Consort! That is the question!

(Hamlet is indecisive, but then roars and tries to attack Horatio, who defends himself with Hamlet’s own sword)

(Disgusted, Hamlet rejects Horatio and exits nauseated)
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt!

Try burning a faggot underneath you!
(military horn)
What warlike noise is this? (looks out window)
Ah ha! Prince Fortinbras of Norway,
with conquest come from Poland,
To th’ ambassadors of England gives this warlike volley.

(runs onstage)
Where is this sight?

What is it you would see, Lord Fortinbras?
If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
(smitten with Fortinbras, who is a very large man) Whoa!

O proud death,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast strook!

Yes, yes, yes. Hamlet said that already.
(admires Fortinbras)
Fortinbras, lend me an ear? A question.
If, say, the entire royal family of Denmark has died
Of carnal, bloody, unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning and force’d cause,
Would not you be next in succession to the crown?

I do have some rights of memory in this kingdom.
Have they died?

Aye, all save Hamlet. (flirts with Fortinbras)
Whereupon Fortinbras arrived, your soldiers flush with conquest,
standing without the gates of unprotected Elsinore.
If the entire royal family dies, heir to Norway
could also king of Denmark be.

(shrugs off Horatio’s flirtation)
How can this to be accomplished when Hamlet still lives?
History would call Fortinbras an assassin.

History is written by those who live.
Give order that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view,
And let Me speak to th’ yet unknowing world
How these things came about. So shall you hear
How the “mad prince” of Denmark, known to be prone to bouts
Of Melancholia, did put on an antic disposition, (pantomimes “mad prince”)
causing death unto all these royal princes.
And how sadly, his own tragic death followed hard upon,
(offers Hamlet’s sword to Fortinbras)
by an unbated and envenomed blade.
And just in case, (wrestles chalice from dead Queen’s hand)
…Slattern…also by poisonous cup!

(considers Hamlet’s sword like a cross)
Let us haste to hear more,
And call the noblest to the audience.

And how the handsome Prince Fortinbras, entered upon this tragic scene
But O! too late to prevent massacre. And therefore,
by hereditary right claimed you the throne of Denmark.
And how nobly did you reign. (arises)
Uh, with your loyal, Royal Consort beside you?

(beat) For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune. (strokes Horatio’s face, causing Horatio's knees to buckle)
Which now to claim (takes up Hamlet’s sword)
my vantage doth invite me. 
(Exits in same direction as Hamlet, but turning back, pantomimes that he intends to kill Horatio too when he is done, which Horatio does not see)

(Delighted, almost drinks from poison chalice, but stops himself. From chalice, fingers out the ring, examines it)
Ah, sweet prince, good night. (puts rings on finger)
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
(Exits with poison chalice, following after Fortinbras and Hamlet)

The End

1 comment:

Alex said...

Well that's just excellent fun. I just thought you were odd but you're actually brilliant. I get it now. Thanks.