And, like a strutting player, whose conceit
Lies in his hamstring, and doth think it rich
To hear the wooden dialogue and sound
‘Twixt his stretch’d footing and the scaffoldage.
Troilus and Cressida Act 1 Scene 3.
For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.
Act 3 Scene 2 (continued). Hamlet wanted to be king. Since he couldn’t have that, he’d settle for director. Director of a little play called “The Murder of Gonzago”.
You’d think that would be enough. But, no, he’d produce it too. Claudius didn’t know it yet but Hamlet was using his uncle’s money. First Elsinore, then maybe Broadway. Soon he’d be a famous Broadway producer.
The Hamster could see the Broadway marquee. There it was. “The Murder of Gonzago” all lit up. Then maybe a movie. Before anybody knew it, he would be up for an Oscar. He liked the sound of “Academy-Award-winning director”.
Hamlet wanted to do a musical but the actors couldn’t sing. Not a note. So he settled for a mousetrap play.
Not only did Hamlet think he could direct and produce, he thought he could write as well. He’d gone and rewritten the darn thing. But things weren’t working out the way he’d planned. Hamlet had gotten himself into a pickle. A real deal pickle.
The actors were perfectly happy doing “The Murder of Gonzago”. Hamlet put a ghost in the new version.
“There’s no ghost in that play,” Rufus yelled. Ghosts were old school. A fifteenth century superstition. Their Elizabethan audience would laugh them off the stage. The entire troupe ixnayed that idea right out of existence.
Hamlet overheard Jack Pierre, “I’ll never remember my lines.” Hamlet had a cure for that. He’d turn the play into a pantomime.
J P may not have been a royal but he was royally p.o.ed. “What do you mean? I don’t get to speak? I don’t think so. It specifically says in my contract that I get at least seven lines. I didn’t spend years developing my wonderful voice to allow some pipsqueak to take out my lines.” Hamlet lost that battle too.
The actress Brunhilda came to Hamlet, “I am not going on in this dress. It makes me look fat.”
Rufus wanted to know, “So what is my motivation?”
Dealing with actors was worse than a room full of theologians. He hadn’t been this frustrated since he had taken on Martin Luther in a debate back in Wittenburg U. He had lost that one and he was about to lose this one too. Here he had this play, “The Murder of Gonzago”, going on tonight. The actors were not playing nice. In fact, they were driving him bananas, and this was before anyone knew what a banana was. They knew what a chiquita was but not a banana.
Only goes to prove that Robbie Burns was right when he wrote,” The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy.”