Monday, December 6, 2010

"The Tango" A short play by Kalina Nikolova

This is Act Three Scene One of an adaptation on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Set in present day Argentina, the characters are of the upper-class, and express themselves through the use of dance. The play centers around Hamlet’s indecisiveness about his love for Ophelia, and how the death of his father exacerbated his inability to decide if he wants to love her or not. This scene has Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Hamlet, and Ophelia present, as well as five dance couples who represent the bourgeoisie circle of Hamlet’s family. While on stage, Hamlet and Ophelia will be dancing the tango passionately, with Hamlet in the lead. Ophelia’s naïve character will show trough her lack of dancing skills, yet her “feistiness” will be represented trough her attire and abrupt comments. Hamlets’ character will emphasize his disgust with Ophelia’s naïve character, and at the same time his love for her. The rest of the actors will be spectators of Hamlet and Ophelia.

Act Three: The Tango

Scene 1:

Claudius, Polonius, Gertrude, Ophelia and dancers are seated on various tables encircling the dance floor. Ophelia is shoved onto the dance floor by Claudius and Polonius. The spotlight is on a red gift bag on a piano chair, with a card for Ophelia. Ophelia picks it up and reads the card aloud, while taking out the gifts.

OPHELIA: “For my exquisite O, with love. Yours forever, H.”
Smiling, she perfumes herself with “Mille et Une Roses,” wraps the radiant red silk Belisi scarf around her, and places the Swarovski Erythrina flower in her hair.Hamlet enters. The song “Diferente” by Gotan Project plays in the background.

HAMLET: At the front of the stage, looking out at the crowd.
I love her, but do I?
Is it better to remain silent and suffer
The fervent desires for her,
Or to act upon them
And, by all means be with her? To dance, to love-
No- but love would end my sleepless nights and endless desires
That my heart is prone to- it would devour me
But I wish that it would! To dance, to love.
To love, to imagine- yes those are the steps,
In that dance of love our imagination takes us
To a world beyond this materialism,
A world where we can pause. That is the reason
That makes our pain so enduring.
Who else would waste their time,
Waiting for her to learn the steps,
To follow the lead, and to mature.
She is beautiful, yet cannot follow.
Maybe I should stop dancing, and seek another?
But if I stop now, I will arrive at the undiscovered country,
From where no one returns.
If I don’t dance with her now,
I may never have the chance again.
My cowardice will lead me there,
For love does not come twice.
But why can’t she see?
My feet dance faster than my heart,
My dance is my love, my love is my Ophelia.
My love is my sickness,
I beg you learn to lead me, to cure me.
Hamlet turns around, as he hears her steps approaching.

OPHELIA: Hamlet, how are you? I shall dance for you, with you.

HAMLET: Oh Ophelia, I am fine, fine.

OPHELIA: Thank you, for the presents. You know so well that Belisi scarves are my favorites.

HAMLET: What presents, maybe from an admirer? Yes, I do see you have a lovely scarf on as always.

OPHELIA: The presents you left for me? Did you not, you know you did. No one but you knows me so well to choose them so fittingly.

HAMLET: My little gullible Ophelia, have you gone mad? I left no such presents for you.

OPHELIA: Pardon? Who do you dare call mad? She pushes him, her scarf flies off, and they passionately begin the tango.

HAMLET: No one, are you beautiful? I think you are desirable. But you need to open your eyes; can’t you see the world around us?

OPHELIA: Hamlet? What are you saying? It is you who has gone mad.

HAMLET: You wear your fancy Gustave Cadile dresses, and your Swarovski ornaments, only to hide yourself. Women, you are all disgusting. Naive and silly, all you think about is materialistic items, what happened to thoughts, to dancing, to loving? That is why you are such a poor dancer, because you bought your red dress, before you cared to learn the steps.

OPHELIA: But the Erythrina flower was from you! Why would you give me something you don’t want me to wear?

HAMLET: There you go again. I have given you nothing, but tried to teach you to dance, to appreciate the basics steps of life. You are so desirable, but be careful that is not all a dancer needs. Your good shoes won’t help you.

OPHELIA: Make up your mind Hamlet, you confuse me as always. Do you not love me?

HAMLET: I love you, but now is not the time to love you. Think my fair Ophelia, what has happened?
Hamlet takes the Erythrina flower from her hair, and leaves the stage. Ophelia sits on the floor with her disheveled hair, breathing heavily she takes off her shoes and begins to sob.

OPHELIA: Oh how he used to love me, to caress me, to lead me in my steps. I tried to learn, but could not. What is it that troubles him so much, that he cannot focus on our love? What a miserable girl I am to love him, who dares he call naïve? I know he loves me; he is the one who can’t make up his mind.
Claudius, Polonius, and Gertrude come forward. They stare at Ophelia with puzzled visages, the music ends, the stage goes black.

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