Never was a story of more woe than this.
Romeo & Juliet Act 5. Scene.3.
Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.
(King John Act 3. Scene 4.)
Act 1. Scene 2. Hamlet is the guy in the room who could use some therapy. Freud would have had a field day with him. Everybody else in the room is singing, “Happy days are here again.” They’re all thinking Hamlet is messed up. All that sitting in the corner and brooding. None of the courtiers had seen its like. Ever. You’d think there was a ghost running around the castle, moaning and groaning.
“Cheer up,” the king says.
“Cheer up,” his mom, the queen, says.
“Cheer up,” all the courtiers say.
Even Hamlet’s inner voice (you one that keeps going, “To be or not to be”) says, “Cheer up.”
Still Hamlet broods and broods, and he broods some more.
Hamlet is depressed. You’d be depressed too. With good reason. Your daddy dies, then Momsy goes off and marries his brother. Now Hamlet can’t be king. Momsy really fixed that.
On top of everything else, the only girl in Castle Elsinore is Ophelia, and he is not allowed to date her. And definitely no making out in the back of his BMW. I mean, c’mon. Ham is a young frisky guy, with all his testosterone hanging out.
Why did Hamlet have to go and promise Mom and the king he would stay in town? He’d rather be off to Paris and the ooh-la-las with Laertes. How did he get himself into this mess? Oh, yeah. He could never resist his mother’s pretty-please look.
Laertes gets to skip town. What makes him so special? Why not Ham? He mimics Claudius. “Your mother has missed you a lots. Besides I want to teach you the king business.”
One thing is for sure. Ham is not the one in the white hat business. He’s not the one shaking hands and kissing babies. That guy is Claudius. He’s the guy what wants to be liked. All that paparazzi snapping his mug every which-a-way. Let Claudius have his throne. Hamlet doesn’t care. There’s no way he could stand all that attention.
Hamlet steps up to the mic. This is his big chance to get in good with the audience. He had better not blow it.
“I hate Denmark,” Hamlet speaks into the mic. “Why? For one thing it gets friggin’ cold here. I don’t mean the normal winter chill. I mean to-your-bones cold. I can never get warm.”
Bad Hamlet appears on his right shoulder. “Why don’t you go ahead and off yourself.”
“Who the devil are you?” Hamlet wants to know.
“I’m the guy who wants you to have a happily ever after,” Baddie says.
Hamlet pulls out his dagger. In mid-air, Good Hamlet shows up on his left shoulder. “Hold it,” he says.
The dagger stops.
“Wh-wh-what?” Hamlet stutters.
Goodie repeats himself, “Hold it, I said.”
“What do you mean showing up here?” Baddie challenges. “Haven’t you got business elsewhere? Like helping Henry VIII pick a new wife?”
“Nope,” Goodie says. “Got no place I’d rather be than here. Now, Hamlet, put that thing away. You’re going to poke your eye out.”
Baddie puts his hand above Hamlet’s hand on the dagger. “Hold on, fellow. You’re stuck here in limbo already. Why not go whole hog?”
Goodie grabs the dagger. “Hamlet, you know that is a mortal sin.”
Hamlet grabs the blade and cuts his hand. He releases the blade.
“Now see what you’ve gone and done,” Baddie says. “That’s not nice.”
“What’s this got to do with nice?” Goodie retorts. “What we are talking about is his immortal soul.”
Horatio, Marcellus and Barnardo appear onstage. Poof! Goodie and Baddie are out of there.
Horatio calls out, “Yo.”
Marcellus and Barnardo do a “Yo” as well.
Hamlet says, “Yo yourself.” He embraces his friend, Horatio, then says, “It’s been a month of Sundays.”
“Longer,” Horatio says.
“Whazup?” Hamlet wants to know.
“We have news,” Marcellus says.
“We saw your daddy,” Horatio says.
“Or a reasonable facsimile,” Barnardo says.
“I’ve seen him too,” Hamlet says. “In my mind’s eye.”
“You still on that happy juice?” Marcellus asks.
“No,” Hamlet says. “I haven’t been able to find a dealer here. My daddy drove them out of the kingdom when he was king. He wasn’t happy that so many Danes were happy. Thanks to the happy juice.”
Horatio says, “He was a ghost as large as the Eiffel Tower.”
“You saw my daddy? You saw his spirit?” Hamlet’s eyes light up with hope.
“The apparition we saw wore your father’s armor and his visor.”
Hamlet can’t believe his ears.
Marcellus continues, “We have seen it for the last three nights.”
“And,” Horatio says, “I saw it tonight.”
Right then and there, Hamlet decides his soliloquy has an answer to his “To go or not to go, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to get the heck out of Dodge. Or lie up my ying-yang for forsoothing a bit too much of the hooch at Phi Beta House.” He definitely has to get out of town. Fast.
Before his father found out that he had been kicked out of Martin Luther U.