Hamlet

In our Hamlet, there is a lot less introspection and a lot more mayhem.  Two characters even get killed twice.  But don’t worry, the violence is very stylized.  That’s another way of saying that it’s really fake, since most directors don’t have much of a special effects budget.

Running time: approximately 5 minutes

Cast size: 2 Males, 3 Females, 4 M/F

Purchase hard copy of play.

Purchase PDF copy of play.

CHARACTERS

NARRATOR (M/F) Gets to die on stage.  Cool.

WATCHMAN 1 (M/F) Hates the night shift.  Dies on stage.

WATCHMAN 2 (M/F) The master of the bad joke.  Dies on stage.

GHOST (M) Hamlet’s father, who is on a transparent quest for revenge.  Already dead on stage.  But dies again anyway.

HAMLET (M) Really, he should have sought counseling a long, long time ago.

4 ASSORTED CASUALTIES (M/F) Only one line each, but they die spectacularly.  On stage.

 

SAMPLE PAGES:

(Lights up. Enter NARRATOR & WATCHMAN 1 & 2, who stand shivering.)

NARRATOR:  Welcome ladies and gentlemen.  The play we are to perform is The Tragic Tale of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.  The play starts with our two night watchmen on a cold winter’s night.

WATCHMAN 1:  (Shivering.)  Man, I hate the night shift.

WATCHMAN 2:  But we’re night watchmen.

WATCHMAN 1:  Oh.  Right.

WATCHMAN 2:  How about a joke to pass the time.

WATCHMAN 1:  All right.

WATCHMAN 2:  Two tapeworms were talking in a pub.

WATCHMAN 1:  Tapeworms?  In a pub?

WATCHMAN 2:  Yeah.  Anyway, one said to the other, “Are you from the city?”  And the other answered, “No, I live in a hamlet.”  Get it?  Hamlet?

WATCHMAN 1:  (Long pause.)  Man, I hate the night shift.

NARRATOR:  Suddenly, the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears.

GHOST:  (Enters.)  I am the ghost of Hamlet’s father.

WATCHMAN 2:  You sort of expect a ghost on the graveyard shift.

WATCHMAN 1:  Great.  First tapeworm jokes and now ghost jokes?  I hate the night shift.

GHOST:  Go, run!  Get my son Hamlet.

WATCHMAN 2:  We can’t run and do anything.

GHOST:  Why not?

WATCHMAN 2:  We’re watch men.

WATCHMAN 1:  Stick to parasite jokes.

GHOST:  Go get Hamlet!

HAMLET:  (Entering.)  Somebody call my name?

GHOST:  Hamlet!

HAMLET:  Dad!  (They run toward each other with their arms out to hug, but just pass by each other making it look as if HAMLET passed right through GHOST.)  Dad?

GHOST:  I need to talk to you!

HAMLET:  But you’re dead.

WATCHMAN 2:  That explains his grave expression.  (All stop and turn slowly in unison to stare at WATCHMAN 2 who laughs at own joke.)

GHOST:  You need to talk to me anyway.  I need you to do something.

WATCHMAN 2:  (Pointing to GHOST) That’s the spirit!  (ALL stop and turn slowly in unison to stare at WATCHMAN 2 who laughs at own joke.)

HAMLET:  What would you have me do?

WATCHMAN 2:  Whatever it is, it doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

(HAMLET takes his sword and stabs WATCHMAN 2.)

WATCHMAN 1:  Thank you, sir.

HAMLET:  (Squats down and holds WATCHMAN 2’s chin and contemplates.)  Alas, poor Dork.  I knew him well.  A fellow of infinite jest.

GHOST:  Hamlet, while I was asleep under a tree, my brother (your uncle) killed me.

HAMLET:  Both of them?

GHOST: (To audience.) He takes after his mother. (To HAMLET.) My brother, who is your uncle killed me.

HAMLET: Oh. (Beat.) Killed you? How?  Did he stab you?  Smother you?

GHOST:  He poured poison in my ear.

HAMLET:  He poured . . . (Looks confused.)  Poison?  In your ear?  Well, that’s pretty lame.  Didn’t you wake up?

GHOST:  That’s beside the point.  I need you to avenge my death.

HAMLET:  I mean, are you used to having stuff poured in your ear while you sleep?   Got a big problem with swimmer’s ear?

GHOST:  Hamlet, you need to focus here.  Your uncle killed me and married your mother.

HAMLET:  Oh, wow.

GHOST:  Horrendous, isn’t it?

HAMLET:  No, I just realized that . . . I’m my own cousin.

GHOST:  Hamlet, focus.  You must avenge—

HAMLET: But, if I’m my own cousin, can I even get married?

GHOST: (Sighs.) Yes. Now, back to the matter at hand: you need to kill your uncle.  It’s got to be done tonight!

HAMLET:  How?  Pour poison in his ear?

GHOST:  Anyway you like.  Just make sure it’s violent.  It’ll help our ratings. . . .