The Al-Hamlet Confusion
by Alexandre Todorov
Olivier's Hamlet (Oli)
Not the Hamlet You Used to Know (Meh)
German Hamlet (Ger)
The Voice of God (Intercom)
Guards and the Assassins (Offstage)
Setting- Empty throne room (Claudius is off enjoying a good dinner)
Time- Hamlet is universal and thus outside of time.
A Hamlet bursts into the room, dressed in medieval garb and carrying a skull
Oli- I do not know if this will change anything, but: CLAUDIUS! You killed my father! Prepare to die!
Another Hamlet strides in clad in traditional Islamic garb
Al- NOT SO FAST IMPOSTER! It is I who will kill him!
An extremely handsome Russian charges in (you can faintly hear the fangirls screaming)
Gam- In the name of the people, I WILL AVENGE MY FATHER! And right the injustices and undue the wrongs and create a true people's republic!
A sheepish looking Hamlet walks in dressed in a bathrobe
Meh- I would complain about the noise, but what is noise? Is there any purpose of trying to have a good bath when joy is so fleeting? So easily destroyed? Is there even something as joy? Or is it an il-
He is swiftly interrupted by Gamlet's fist
Al and Oli- Thank you
Gam- Now, where were we?
All take an aggressive stance and point at someone
All together- You were accusing me of being an imposter, you imposter!
Oli- Come on people, I am obviously the real Hamlet! Do you not sense my contemplative nature? I truly am the man who gave birth to modern man! A philosopher, a tender soul, a torn soul, reluctantly forced into action
Gamlet- (while pretending to clear his throat) Woman!
Oli- Leave it to some testosterone addicted Russian action junky to think he is the real Hamlet. Where is your vulnerability? Where is your indecisiveness? If you are Hamlet then why are you so confident?
Gam- Maybe because your version is false? Maybe because he was created by the British to compensate for not being French?
Al- Maybe because your Hamlet is deluded by his secular values! I am guided by GOD in my actions and I bring his words to purge this land of sin
Oli- Interesting. And God told you to turn a mosque into a war-zone? And if you took power, what would you do?
Al- Create a state based upon the purity of the faith! Create a land where Morality reigns triumphant!
Oli- So, you are going to recreate Somalia
Al- No, completely different
Al- No, I will do a far better job than those ignorant Pashtuns
Al- (gets flustered) Well Mr. British know it all (is there any other kind?), what is YOUR grand plan for what happens after you kill Claudius?
Oli- I really have not thought much about that, probably take power, I guess. Oh God, making decisions can be so difficult sometimes.
Meh- (having recovered) What difference does it make? This is an endless cycle of brother against brother.
Gam goes to punch him again, but Al cuts in
Al- Allow me, I have to deal with him as a neighbor.
Meh collapses as 8 years of frustration is condensed into one blow
Gam- So you plan on becoming king even though you took eons just to decided if getting mad because someone killed your father was the right thing to do.
Oli- Oh shut up, like your ideal state is going to be a paradise. (takes a pause and collects himself) I hate to say this, but you're right. Problem is, Claudius is not that bad of a ruler.
Al+Gam- YOU ARE KIDDING ME!
Oli- He did deal with the whole Fortinbras situation quite nicely. Though he is kind of pushy, he does take advice.
Al- You are as blind as you are arrogant! Claudius is a corrupt lackey of foreign powers whose only purpose is to get rich!
Gam- No, the real Claudius is an independent dictator! He is no lackey.
Oli- Who really knows, I guess it all depends on the version you see-
He is interrupted by a massive crash
Al+Oli- WHAT WAS THAT?
Gam- Probably some workers tearing down that old building outside. I noticed that they had taken down three of the walls when I was walking in, that was probably the fourth one being destroyed.
Oli- Oh, its only the fourth wall being smashed into pieces, that makes sense. As I was saying, it all depends on the version you see, of which mine is obviously the right one, considering that I am the original.
Al+ Gam- Oh?
Oli- Centuries of scholarly tradition can't be wrong.
Gam- Tell that to the alchemists. You do know that there are two "original" versions of the play, right? And that the second has to be edited in order to be producible?
Oli- (stammering as his world is shattered) But, but I have big scholars on my side! They have written big books, with, with fancy names! I have the longest tradition! I, I, I'm English, that obviously makes the the right one by default!
Al- “Right one by default”, you're English all right. But just because people have interpreted you that way for centuries does not make it right.
From offstage a voice with a German accent states
Ger- I beg to differ
He walks into the room dressed in the purist of white.
Ger- Your pitiful arguments are meaningless, for the real Hamlet, the German Hamlet has arrived! Is it not clear that Hamlet represents the German nations? Is it not clear that his choices are the same as those faced by Prussia? Is it not clear that I would do all I could, if there only were not powers holding my perfection back? Run along kids, the adults have nation building to do.
Al- It's always white men in white suits! God, you really need to be more creative when creating trouble for me.
Intercoms magically appear in the room and proclaim:
“Thou shalt not make demands of the one whom is already irritated by your misguided fanboy-ness”
Al- Sorry for all that, I guess I have been getting presumptuous again. I am sorry that I have disappointed thou a second time.
Intercom- Oh, HELL NO! You did not just thou me!
Al- (terrified and incredibly surprised) i-i-i-is it n-n-n-not the more formal way m-m-m-my Lord?
Intercom- No, that's you.
Al- I always thought that it was the other way around.
Intercom- Ugh. damned pop culture (Oli realizes that he really should not have that skull with him and drops it), I have got to deal with it one of these days. Anyway, just don't do it again and please stop using my name as an excuse to avoid dealing with your women issues. (the others start to snicker) That goes for the rest of you too! I created them as a partner for you losers and all you do is blame all of your insecurities on them. Your mom remarried, get over it! Ugh, and the angels always wonder why I have a headache! Bloody irritating wanna be philosophers (The voice trails off into muttering)
Ger- Now that that's over, I still see several people pretending to be me in this room. Did I not just tell you to go away?
The others glare at him
Ger- Why are you staying? Is it not obvious that the prince of Denmark is really German? Hell, Denmark pretty much exists depending on my whims. Only I have the combination of philosophical nature and will to act that makes up the real Hamlet!
Oli- You impudent kraut! I AM THE PHILOSOPHER KING! The mantle of the real Hamlet you can try to take, but hands off my role as the philosophical Hamlet!
Ger- Silly Englishman, you were born from a misinterpretation of the texts
Oli- I BLOODY WROTE THE TEXTS!
Ger- Wrote them incorrectly, as for the rest of you: (turns to Gamlet) Russian, go home, this is for multi dimensional characters only. (turns to the staggering Meh) You are an indecisive weakling with nothing but some bullcrap philosophy. Just go to a monastery. (turns to Al) As for you, I have no need for your religious extremism. You are nothing but another dictator in the making. Go home, the German nation has nothing to do with people who will refuse to assimilate.
Al- Have you seen the German nation these days?
Ger- As if you are one to talk about national problems
Al- At least I have God.
Ger- Did you not read version from which I come? I am perfect! Why would I need a god?
Meh- (who has approached him from behind) Because of me. (punches him) You can claim to be the real Hamlet. (punches him again) You can call me weak. (again) You can call me indecisive. (again) You can call me useless. (again) But. (again) Don't. (again) Insult. (again) The. (again) Philosophy! (final punch)
The rest stand still and gape at what seems to be a demon in a bath robe.
Meh- Wow, so this is what doing something feels like. Feels pretty damn good. Okay, time to take my bath, kill Claudius and reconcile with Ophelia. About damn time I got my act together.
He exits offstage
There is a pause for a few seconds
Oli- What just happened?
Al- Something that would have been really useful 43 years ago.
Gam- We still have not settled on who is the real Hamlet and thus the one who gets to kill Claudius.
(Offstage)- Okay, on three we stab him. One, two, thr-OH GOD! He just shattered my sword with his fist!
The rest don't realize what's happening
Oli- Are we ever going to?
(Offstage)- MY BLOOD! He just punched out all my blood!
Al- Probably not, why try? None of us are really complete considering how many versions there are. The only aspect we all share is the desire to kill Claudius
(Offstage)- Guards, defend the King!
Gam- I am beginning to question even that. Considering what we have done, are we in any position to be considering ourselves the good guys?
(Offstage)- He just killed the guards! RUN, YOU FOOLS!
They are too busy discussing the philosophical nature of what it means to be the real them to notice that Claudius and some guards have run past them and made their stand next to the throne
Al- Yeah, we did kind of drive the lady who we loved to commit suicide.
Meh purposefully walks into the room, covered in blood and wielding two swords. He is wearing a pair of pants and the tattered remains of his now blood drenched bathrobe.
Meh- Claudius! You killed my father, tried to rape the one who I love, turned this kingdom into a prison state and ruined a bath to which I have been looking forward to for several days! Prepare to die!
The rest are completely lost in self contemplation.
Oli- And really hurt mom, who was just trying to look out for us
They are too consumed by the conversation to notice that the guards have been swiftly dispatched by Meh in a way so graceful that it would bring Bruce Lee to tears
Gam- Plus, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern really did not have to die. Rosey was going to be married in a few weeks!
Meh approaches the king with his bathrobe flapping behind him quite heroically
Meh- Your reign of terror ends now. Maybe, two sarcastic grave diggers will philosophize over your skull. (Decapitates Claudius) Lets spare the audience another one of those scenes (throws head out the window)
The rest are still ignorant of what was happening
Al- Let's face it guys, we really have not done much good over the past few days or months or years. None of us are going to make good rulers and quite frankly we have probably killed more innocents than the King. It would probably be best if we just let go of this. Let's forget the whole thing and get something to eat, all of this is making me hungry.
Gam- I know a great fish place near here, I'll pay.
Oli- Amen to that
All three of them walk out and don't notice Ophelia walking in, which is quite a shame considering that she is very pretty. And it would also be a good time to apologize for being a complete asshole to different versions of her.
Ophelia- What was all of that noise? Hamlet what are you doing here? I thought I told you to go to a leave and never come ba-
She is interrupted by Meh passionately kissing her. There is a rather long pause as both people try and fail to regain full composure.
Ophelia- You can keep my letters. Just one thing, what happened to you?
Meh- It's a long story. Now, if you don't mind, there has been a nice bath in my future for quite some time now and it is about damn time it moves into my present.
They begin to walk out of the throne room when they run into Laertes who for some reason is naked and purple.
Meh- Already took care of it.