HAMLET VS. GOODZILLA

Act One, Scene Two


{Inside a Theatre.  PRINCE HAMLET, costumed in royal cloak and crown, struts across the stage.  He hears a smattering of applause from a small audience.}


HAMLET:  To be or to be nothing.  What a dilemma.  Should I suffer these slings, arrows, splinters and jagged shards of fate?  Or put an end to them thus?


(Hamlet sets the blade of a sword under his own neck.)


FARMER (in audience):  Do it!  Draw blood.


(Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, late arrivals, searching for seats, enter through the audience.)


GUILDENSTERN:  The actor presents himself with a complex choice.


ROSENCRANTZ:   Attend to the mission.


GUILDENSTERN:  He wonders if life offers him purpose.


ROSENCRANTZ:   Tell him it does not.


(On the stage, Hamlet addresses a peasant Woman)


HAMLET:  O’ you rogues and peasant slaves.  Join my court.  For, without you, I am my own jester.  I am treasury but treasured not.  And less a king than a kingdom of one ruled by my own empty heart--


GUILDENSTERN:  “I’m not satisfied being filthy rich.”


ROSENCRANTZ:  “I hate being Prince.”


GUILDENSTERN:  “I have to mock my royal family on a stage.”


FARMER:  Shhh.


ROSENCRANTZ:  You shhh.


HAMLET:  Who dares interrupt?  


FARMER:  Enemies of the theatre.


ROSENCRANTZ:  (to Audience) But friends of the family. 


GUILDENSTERN:  The royal family.


(Rosencrantz approaches the stage.  Guildenstern follows.)


HAMLET:  Be happy I reject the crown, Guildenstern.  If I took it seriously, I would amputate your tongue.


GUILDENSTERN:  It was Rosencrantz tongue what said it, Sir.


(Rosencrantz slaps Guildenstern on the back of his head)


ROSENCRANTZ:  I didn’t mean to denigrate the theatre, Royal Sir.  But we came on royal business.


HAMLET:  I care nothing for the throne.  My greater, more glorious passion is to speak the holy words the Creator put in the hands of our great scribes.  You fools.  I pity you.  You’ll never have the pleasure of a passion.


GUILDENSTERN:  We have a passion, Sir.  To serve with abject servility.  At least, I do.


(The men climb the stage)


MILKMAID (in audience, to Farmer):  That strikes me as overly theatrical.


FARMER:  I think it’s quite bold and inventive.


ROSENCRANTZ:  May we discuss a family matter?


HAMLET:  Tell my father I don’t need his tutoring.  I’m busy with affairs of true import.


ROSENCRANTZ:  Actually the King cares little for tutoring right now.


HAMLET:  Does one of his nymphets preoccupy his scepter?


GUILDENSTERN:  He’s had some difficulties.


HAMLET:  Is he ill?


GUILDENSTERN:  He’s definitely not well.


HAMLET:  What disease besets him?


GUILDENSTERN:  Disease is not a problem.


HAMLET:  Is it bandits?


ROSENCRANTZ:  No.


HAMLET:  Rebels?


GUILDENSTERN:  Not really.


HAMLET:  Foreign troops?


GUILDENSTERN:  Something more in the animal realm, Sire.


HAMLET:  This animal which plagues him.  Describe it.


ROSENCRANTZ:  Large.


GUILDENSTERN:  Green.


ROSENCRANTZ:  Fiery breath.  Scaley.  Slimy.  And, oh, taller than a tree.


HAMLET:  Is my father hurt?


ROSENCRANTZ:  Hurt doesn’t put it accurately.


GUILDENSTERN:  He’s more dead than hurt, Sir.


HAMLET:  You taunt me.


(Hamlet strikes Rosencrantz on the chin.  He falls.)


FARMER:  Action.  This play has everything.


ROSENCRANTZ:  By order of the royal court, I declare this proceeding shut down.


HAMLET:  My father will hang you.


GUILDENSTERN:  Not in his present condition.


HAMLET:  Then I’ll hang you.


GUILDENSTERN:  That’s the spirit!


(c)2007 Gabby Gruen



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