Opening scene from Shakespeare's
Adapted by Christopher Mirto & Brian Valencia
I. The Nightmare
(A skull falls from the sky. It shatters on the stage.
Footsteps – slow walking then running;
Breathing – quick breathing that slows down;
Quick shatter of a glass breaking;
Abrupt sound of an alarm, or striking of midnight that does not resolve itself.
A dangling, naked bulb lights up fast.
We see HAMLET’s face in the dim light. HE is in jeans and a T-shirt. The rest of the COMPANY is not.)
(Before HE finishes the question, the GHOST, from behind, puts his hand over Hamlet’s mouth.)
I am thy father’s spirit,
Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love--
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.
(The COURT has been frozen throughout all of the preceding scene: CLAUDIUS, GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, OPHELIA, LAERTES, and HORATIO.
Quickly the lights come up, and HAMLET is caught between worlds.)
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,