Hamlet and Macbeth

If you still want a short play but can’t resist Shakespeare, we combined two in one–with a story line. This one also includes an outline for the evening. The Town Crier is scrambling for entertainment for the Court, so Jester uses short versions of Hamlet and Macbeth, which were written by the Town Crier. Except the Town Crier doesn’t recognize these versions. At all.

Running time: approximately 25-30 minutes

Cast size: 5-7 Males, 4 Females, 4-5 M/F, Courtiers, 4 Extras

Purchase hard copy here.

Purchase PDF version here.

CAST OF CHARACTERS 

JESTER (M) Funny man and master of ceremonies 

TOWN CRIER (M/F) Professional announcer; also in charge of the entertainment for the Court 

KING (M) the Lord of the castle 

QUEEN (F) the Lady of the castle 

COURTIERS (M/F) various nobility of the Court 

Hamlet

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.

Macbeth

NARRATOR (M/F) Moves the plot along and makes sure we don’t say M– in the theatre.

MACBETH (M) He is Thane of Scotland.

LADY MACBETH (F) She is inthane.

WITCH (F) She has at least three personalities, more if you keep score.

DUNCAN (M) He gets stabbed—a whole lot—but is surprisingly durable. 

GILBERT/TIGER WOODS (M) Delivers a killer line early on but later plays his way through.

EOWYN (F) She is slumming in this production.  She still looks pretty buff, though.

SAMPLE PAGES 

(Lights up as JESTER enters.) 

JESTER: Welcome good lords and nobles and dukes and . . . (Points to audience member.) Earl! I didn’t know you were coming tonight! It appears his majesty has allowed you back at court after that incident with the peacock. But we won’t talk about that. Welcome back! (Continues.) We’ve killed the boar . . . (Looks at same audience member.) Oh, no, I wasn’t talking about you, Earl. (Beat.) Perhaps I should try this again. (Clears throat.)
Welcome good lords and ladies fair!
Welcome to this night’s affair!
Our noble king will soon arrive;
The year is 1625!
Now, may the mirth that fills this hall (TOWN CRIER enters frantically.)
Amuse and delight you, one and all.

TOWN CRIER: Jester! We have a problem!

JESTER: What’s the matter, Town Crier?

TOWN CRIER: Lord Strange’s Men are not able to make it tonight!

JESTER: So, what’s the problem? We have plenty of strange men in the audience! (Laughs overly. Points again.) Earl’s here. 

TOWN CRIER: This is no time for jokes! The King was expecting some plays for tonight’s entertainment.

JESTER: So what happened to the strange men?

TOWN CRIER: That’s Lord Strange’s Men. Well, if you must know, they have been detained.

JESTER: Detained?

TOWN CRIER: It appears that the lads at the Bristled Boar aren’t big fans of interpretive dance.  One actor got bludgeoned by his own tutu.  (Beat.) It’s a long story.

JESTER: Which I’d love to hear.

TOWN CRIER: There’s no time. The King will be arriving any minute.

JESTER: Oh! I have an idea! We could use those dwarfish Shakespeare plays you wrote.

TOWN CRIER: (Insulted.) Dwarfish? They are plays that are shortened, not bearded.  I prefer to call them “Condensed Shakespeare.”

JESTER: Nah.  In show business you need alliteration. We’ll go with Shakespeare’s Shorts.  You announce the King, and I’ll go round up some actors.

TOWN CRIER: I don’t know. I’ve only shown them to me mum and dad.  And Percival.

JESTER:  Percival?

TOWN CRIER:  My hamster.  But he’s eaten several of Shakespeare’s plays.

JESTER: Right.  Well, now you can have a world premiere.

TOWN CRIER: With the royal court?  Are you mad?  If I get a thumbs down from the King, I’ll be bludgeoned by something worse than a tutu.

JESTER: Which I’d love to hear.

TOWN CRIER: There’s no time. The King will be arriving any minute.

JESTER: Oh! I have an idea! We could use those dwarfish Shakespeare plays you wrote.

TOWN CRIER: (Insulted.) Dwarfish? They are plays that are shortened, not bearded.  I prefer to call them “Condensed Shakespeare.”

JESTER: Nah.  In show business you need alliteration. We’ll go with Shakespeare’s Shorts.  You announce the King, and I’ll go round up some actors.

TOWN CRIER: I don’t know. I’ve only shown them to me mum and dad.  And Percival.

JESTER:  Percival?

TOWN CRIER:  My hamster.  But he’s eaten several of Shakespeare’s plays.

JESTER: Right.  Well, now you can have a world premiere.

TOWN CRIER: With the royal court?  Are you mad?  If I get a thumbs down from the King, I’ll be bludgeoned by something worse than a tutu.

JESTER: Nonsense. The King will love it. (BRASS FANFARE.) Besides, he’s here. Just leave this in my capable hands. (Exits quickly.)

TOWN CRIER: That’s what I’m afraid of. (BRASS FANFARE.) Oh, the King has arrived.
(Loudly, to the back of the hall.)
Ready the meal and heat the wassail!
Bring forth the meat and finest of ale!
Blow the clarion!  Singers appear!
The King and his court are drawing near! (Beat.) Oh, dear. (Exits quickly.)

Later in the evening . . . 

TOWN CRIER: Jester, did you find some actors?

JESTER: Yes, I did. They are rehearsing right now.

TOWN CRIER: So, who did you get?

JESTER: Well, I got Baldric the baker, Fitz the falconer, Della the dyer, Malcom the messenger, Sue the scullery maid, Laura the lace maker, Patsy the potter, and Earl.

TOWN CRIER: (Looks to audience member.) Earl?

JESTER: Not that Earl. The other Earl.

TOWN CRIER: (Frustrated.) So . . . Abby, Alena, August, Abel, Alan, and Algar the actors weren’t available?

JESTER: (Beat.) I didn’t think to ask any of them. Sure would have made my job a lot easier.

TOWN CRIER: Baldric the baker? Can he act? Fitz the falconer? Oh, this is a disaster!

JESTER: Don’t worry, Town Crier! Everything will be great. This will all work out fine! (BRASS FANFARE.) Ah, my favorite part of the night! Dessert! (Exits.)

TOWN CRIER: I’m doomed. (Exits.)