haiku for the day: civilization

As a writer, I love photographs of people performing work. It seems that a person is happiest when they have found a career they thoroughly enjoy. Seeing a policeman directing traffic reminds me what chaos there would be if they weren’t there. The light at the intersection is not working. How many drivers would try to push their way forward and ram their vehicles into other vehicles. Soon it becomes a pile-up. 

the policeman waves
city traffic onward through
the intersection

Hamlet: A Comedy Tonight

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.

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.”

Hamlet and the Speakeasy

I can counterfeit the deep tragedian;
Speak and look back, and pry on every side,
Tremble and start at wagging of a straw,
Intending deep suspicion.
Richard III Act 3 Scene 5.

Act 3 Scene 2. Every actor in the world wants to be the director. With one exception. Michael Caine. Sir Michael knows an easy road when he sees one. He learned during his working-class odd-job early life not to make waves. Directors make waves. Partially because it’s their job to piss people off, especially actors and producers. Partially they can’t help themselves.

Now here’s Hamlet. Right up front he wants to piss the actors off. By telling them how to do their job. Here he’s telling them to speak the speak and speech the speech. As if they don’t know how to speak the speech and speech the speak. They ought to. They have done it something like one thousand and fifty-four and a half times.

That half time is stretching it a bit. This visiting acting troupe hadn’t done a good job at the halftime celebrations of the Superbowl between the Martin Luthers and the Torquemada Inquisitors. They did a bit on the Ninety-five Theses. They called it the Ninety-six Thesis because it was the thesis that the Martin Luthers left out. This thesis claimed that Jesus was six feet seven and had played pro basketball for the Nazareth Carpenters. That went against the Church’s teaching.

According to the Church teaching on Jesus’ basketball career, the Good Lord was seven feet tall and had played for the Bethlehem Cradles. The Church had stained glass to prove it. They had Jesus’ contract for forty-five shekels for his rookie year. He played three games, then he was out for the season. He had injuries in his two palms. Something about splinters. Basically it put him out for good. Jesus never played pro basketball again. A little touch football with His Boys but never anything pro. As they say, everybody has a cross to bear and that was His.

Except for that screw-up, this acting troupe had standing room audiences at all its performances. Now here was the Hamster, an amateur, trying to tell them how to do their job. But he was paying the bill, so they let him do his thing. They just didn’t listen and went about their acting biz the way they always did. Professionally.

Hamlet must have thought he was William Shakespeare. Had Hamlet lived it is very likely that he would have gone to London and started his own theater troupe. Now that would have been a hoot. Not.

Hamlet was so good at tragedy he could have been the next Chris Marlowe. When it came to comedy, it was an ix-nay on that. From the evidence we have seen in the play so far, all Hamlet could do was sad, really sad. He would have made “The Massacre at Paris” look like a children’s play.

The Elizabethans would have run from his plays, barfing. ‘Course that would have made him even more popular since the Elizabethans loved to barf. Francis Bacon wrote three treatises on the subject. Queen Elizabeth, for whom the era was named, had contests at court to see who the best barfer was. Leicester won them hands down. Guess that was why he was the Favorite-in-Chief.

Hamlet would have been the one that all those scholars think was The Bard. Alas, it was not to be. But Hamlet still made his mark anyway. Thanks to Horatio, his story became the most popular in all the world. Folks as far away as Cathay would get a taste of it. It would be seen by more audiences than any other drama, except The Game of Thrones. So Hamlet can take his bow.

Now Hamlet gets the chance to produce, direct, and playwright. Who knows? He may even have played the ghost. Just like William the Playwright played the ghost but not the lead. Oh, that’s right. There isn’t a ghost in the Gonzago play. But no worries. Hamlet has written a part for himself. He will Olivier this little tragedy the actors perform. Talk about Multiple Personality Syndrome. Hamlet was a regular Orson Welles. A Mr. Multiple Personality.