Waiting for the Dane

Personae Dramitis:

Horatio — Hamlet’s friend
Laertes — not Hamlet’s friend
Hamlet — the Prince of Denmark

Standing side by side on a sterile promontory, Laertes and Horatio face out to sea, a forlorn wind tugging at their cloaks. The sky is grey and threatens snow. Occasional thunder mutters on the horizon.

Laertes: What? Horatio! Did you say something?

Horatio: I didn’t say anything.

Laertes: You did.

Horatio: Did I?

Laertes: I think so.

Horatio: Aren’t you sure?

Laertes: Sure? Who can be sure of anything. I think so.

Horatio: You think so, therefore you might be.

Laertes: What?

Horatio: Pardon?

Laertes: I said “what.”

Horatio: Did you?

Laertes: Did I what?

Horatio: God.

Laertes: Isn’t he coming?

Horatio: God?

Laertes: Hamlet. He’d better, Horatio. We have business. About my sister. Poor Ophelia. He’s not treating her right.

Horatio: Yeah? How?

Laertes: Just never you mind. (sighs, and sits)

Horatio: It’s cold. It’s going to snow.

Laertes: (sighs) I had a dream last night.

Horatio: Nothing is more boring than other people’s dreams. (beat) What was it?

Laertes: I drank a lot of water, so I had an erection.

Horatio: As dreams go, that’s pretty average.

Laertes: That wasn’t the dream.

Horatio: (dryly) Oh.

Laertes: I’m not going to tell it now.

Horatio: I suppose it was a sex dream.

Laertes: Depends what you mean by “sex.” And my erections aren’t “average.”

Horatio: (sigh) Please.

Laertes: It’s been too long.

Horatio: What? Sex?

Laertes: Hamlet. Looks like your chum isn’t coming.

Horatio: He said he’d be here. This is where he’s supposed to be.

Laertes: (defensively) I know, I was there.

Horatio: No need to be defensive.

Laertes: I’m not being defensive.

Horatio: Okay. Whatever. Just sounded defensive to me.

Laertes: Well it wasn’t.

Horatio: I didn’t say it was.

Laertes: I didn’t say you did. (sigh)

Horatio: He’s not coming.

Laertes: Have you seen how he’s been acting? “To a nunnery go!” What’s that supposed to mean – what’s he saying?(emphatic) to my sister.

Horatio: “There’s nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Laertes: Yeah, right. (beat) He’s not coming.

Hamlet approaches with exaggerated stealth from behind.

Horatio: (sits next to Laertes) He wouldn’t do that to me.

Laertes: Wouldn’t he? Did you see the absolute spectacle he made of himself during the play?

Horatio: What does he want with us?

Laertes: I hope he doesn’t come.

Hamlet: Boo!

He laughs inanely as they leap to their feet.

Hamlet (cont’d): Hi gang! It’s me! Hamlet! Remember me? Hamlet? Your friend? Hi Horatio! You’re my friend! (not so friendly) Hello, Laertes. Remember me?

Horatio: Well met, fair prince. The glow of happier days still brightly lights the halls of memory. How fares my lord this day?

Hamlet: Oh! I had a really neat day! Did you? I did! I really dug my cool day!

Laertes: Shadows cast no more that leaden pall across thy merriment?

Hamlet: Huh?

Laertes (deep breath):
Art thou relieved the heft of Terra’s sphere?
An’ doth the solstice breath of death delay
No more within thine heart? – ’tis breezed away
To settle cold about old Hamlet’s bier?

Hamlet: What? Oh, Horatio! Remember when I saw that ghost? (ghostly) Oooo! That was spooky and really weird, right?

Horatio (clearing throat):
It was a grave and horrid sight, m’lord,
That plucked the lyred heart, its every chord,
In melancholic tunes. Nor all the Ocean Sea
Can compass—

Hamlet: (gasp!) I bought a blue doublet today! It’s really cool and stuff! It’s blue! See? It has many frills! And pleats too! With yellow laces that have tassels. See? Oh! Look at my chest hair! It’s blond and curly, but very pretty. Like tassels! Do you like my new blue doublet?  -- oh, wait!  'My new blue dooblet!'

Snow starts falling.

Horatio: Aye, m’lord. ’Twould pale the tropic azure seas—

Hamlet: And I snuck up on you! And I said “boo” and you were ascared! Haha!!!

Rejoice the gelid grip of grief no more
Doth grasp away thy spirit’s ease, like sore
Unfixéd winds that strew out icy ash.
The breathless snow—

Hamlet: You rhyme good, Horatio! Hurray Horatio! Haha! Listen! (shouting)
My name is Hamlet!
I like to eat breakfast pancakes!
I am tall!
I like to see walls!
I like girls!
Everywhere in the world!
I like snow!
When it tickles my nose!
See? Did you hear my good rhymes too? You’re not the only one who can rhyme good, you know.

The very sky doth crumble an’ that joy
In you be filled, and such a wind will – will— (peters out)

—such a wind will toy
With sullen Hades’ fire, and soar to damp
Proud Etna’s flames, and sore contend the sun!
The torrid blast of southern climes—

Hamlet: Ophelia thinks I’m hot! I made out with her!

My sister’s gentle soul is like the muted morn,
Veiled in gray—

Hamlet: I think she’s hot too. I hope she’s not mad about Polonius, though. Polonius is her father. And your father too, Laertes! She’s your sister. Should I tell her? That she’s hot?

Horatio: Nay, m’lord – ’twould not be—

Laertes: What? What about my father?

Hamlet: (pointing) Look at that cloud! It looks like a bird, a hawk! Hawks eat rats, you know. Haha! That reminds me! “A rat! A rat!” I – I, um, exclaimed to my mother Queen Gertrude. And then I stabbed it! But it wasn’t a rat at all! It was Polonius! Isn’t that funny? Haha! (solemnly) And weird too? (pointing) Oh, look! My father’s ghost! Yoo hoo!

Hamlet waves, then runs off toward the apparition.

Laertes: (shocked) What?

Horatio: That was pointless. (beat) He rhymed “Hamlet” with “pancakes”. (beat) That “crumbling sky” line of yours was pretty good. You should write it down.

Laertes: Did you hear what he said about stabbing my father?

Horatio: Huh? No. I’m cold.


For after a long day's toil in the fields of the Lord, such refreshement as this is sweet nectar.

What? It's "derivative?" I -- I don't know what you're talking about.



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