Sie sind auf Seite 1von 31

A NIGHT IN ELSINORE

by Richard
Nathan
ACT I
Scene I
Scene I takes place on a platform in front of Elsinore
Castle. FRANCISCO is on duty. Enter BERNARDO.
BERNARDO
Who's there?
FRANCISCO
Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold
yourself.
BERNARDO
Long live the King!
FRANCISCO
Bernardo?
BERNARDO
I am he.
FRANCISCO
You come most carefully upon your
hour.
BERNARDO
'Tis now struck twelve.
Off stage, there is the sound of someone approaching.
FRANCISCO
Who is there? Stand ho!
Enter HORATIO, who is dressed rather shabbily and
who speaks with an unusual Italian accent. He is more
an antique Roman than a Dane.

HORATIO
That's right! You guessed it.
BERNARDO
What's right? Guessed what?
HORATIO
You said, "Stand Ho!" That's me! Ho!
BERNARDO
Ho! Ho who?
HORATIO
Gezundheit!
FRANCISCO
Why, 'tis good Horatio! How dost thou,
Horatio?
HORATIO
I don't do much dusting anymore. I'm a
guard now.
I guard the castle gate, and I do a pretty
good job
too.
FRANCISCO
Really?
HORATIO
Sure. It's still there.
BERNARDO
Has the apparition appeared again
tonight?
FRANCISCO
I have seen nothing.
BERNARDO
Horatio, do you know ought of the
Ghost?

HORATIO
Well, I ought to. Hey, that's some funny
joke,
eh?
BERNARDO
Come, come, Horatio. Do you know
anything
of ghosts?
HORATIO
Sure, I knew an old ghost once. But that
was a
long, long time ago. He's probably dead
by now.
FRANCISCO
Look! It comes again! The ghost of our
late King
Hamlet!
Enter the GHOST, a bright-eyed imp who happens to be
mute.
BERNARDO
There is the apparition!
HORATIO
I don't believe it.
The Ghost and Horatio joyously embrace.
BERNARDO
Stay illusion! If thou hast any sound or
use of
voice, speak to me!
The Ghost honks a horn.
FRANCISCO
Question it, Horatio.

HORATIO
Hey, Ghost, how ya doing?
The Ghost does a melodramatic death scene.
HORATIO
You're dead, huh? Gee, that's too bad.
The Ghost sits up and nods his head "yes."
FRANCISCO
Ask him about the war!
HORATIO
What war?
FRANCISCO
Ask him if we should go to war with
young
Fortinbras!
HORATIO
Hey, Ghost, should we go to war with
Fortinbras?
The Ghost shakes his head "no." He hold up ten
fingers, and then three fingers.
HORATIO
No. He says Fortinbras is too many. He
thinks we
should go to war with thirteen-bras.
The Ghost slaps his knee and goes into fits of silent
laughter.
FRANCISCO
No, no! You remember, young
Fortinbras is the
son of old Fortinbras, who was King of
Norway,
until our late King Hamlet killed him and

took most
of the Norwegian lands.
The Ghost mocks Francisco's overly-serious manner,
and makes faces at him. Suddenly he looks offstage
and panics.
HORATIO
What's the matter?
The Ghost starts to run offstage, but Horatio blocks his
way.
HORATIO
Where you going? What're you doing?
The Ghost whistles and points to the horizon.
HORATIO
What do you mean? I don't get it.
The Ghost decides to explain in pantomime. The
Ghost points down.
HORATIO
Down?
The Ghost whistles and nods enthusiastically. Then
the Ghost mimes picking up something and raising it.
HORATIO
What? Down is up? You're crazy! How
can
down be up?
The Ghost shakes his head "no." He holds out a hand
to signal that he wants to start again.
HORATIO
Okay. We start again.
The Ghost mimes putting a cigar into his mouth, and
then loping across the stage while raising and lowering
his eyebrows.

HORATIO
Wait a minute! I think I seen that guy
before. Let
me think ... I know! That's the man who
comes
to fix the sink!
The Ghost shakes his head "no."
HORATIO
No? Who is it?
The Ghost mimes holding a baby in his arms, acting
like a father.
HORATIO
It's your son? It's Prince Hamlet? The
one you
named after yourself? Funny, he looks
just
like the man who comes to fix the sink.
The Ghost threatens to hit Horatio.
HORATIO
OK. Hamlet. He's your son. Your son!
The Ghost mimes proudly holding the baby in his
arms. Then he mimes lifting the baby up.
HORATIO
He's going up? Hamlet's going up?
The Ghost shakes his head "no," and then holds out
his hand to signal that he wants to try again.
HORATIO
OK. We try again.
The Ghost again mimes Hamlet loping across the
stage. Then, as Hamlet, he starts silently weeping and
crying.

HORATIO
Hamlet. He's sad. He's crying. Why's he
crying?
The Ghost points to himself and does his death scene
again. Then he goes back to Hamlet crying, and
pointing to where he died.
HORATIO
He cries because you're dead. He's in
mourning.
As soon as Horatio says, "mourning," the Ghost starts
joyfully jumping up and down and nodding "yes."
HORATIO
That's it!!! Mourning! It's morning ...
The Ghost again mimes lifting the baby.
HORATIO
. . . and something's going up. The sun
is coming
up! It's morning, dawn! It's dawn, and
the sun is
coming up, so you've got to leave now.
OK, I
understand. Good-bye, Ghost. I'll be
seeing you.
Good-bye.
The Ghost exits, waving good-bye and blowing kisses.
HORATIO
Hey, he's a nice ghost.
FRANCISCO
Come. Let us impart what we have seen
tonight
to young Prince Hamlet.

Exeunt.
**********************************************************
Scene II
Scene II takes place in a room in Elsinore Castle.
Flourish. Enter the KING, the QUEEN, HAMLET (who
has his back to the audience), POLONIUS, LAERTES,
and OPHELIA. The King is a slightly overweight man
with a beard and a middle-European accent. His
name is Claudius. Gertrude, the Queen, is a stately
dowager-type. Polonius is a foolish old man. Ophelia
is an attractive blonde who is very clever and very
ambitious. Laertes is a young man, excitable, but not
very bright. In the original
production of this play, he was played in a style
resembling Daffy Duck (including the lisp), and it
worked.
KING
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's
death
the memory be green, and it befitted us
to
bear our hearts in grief, and our whole
kingdom
to be contracted in one brow of woe, it's
time
we faced the fact the old king's dead, and
I must
run the kingdom. I thank you all for your
condolences on the death of my brother,
the

late King, as I thank you for your good wishes


on my marriage to his widow, the Queen.
Now then, on to our royal business.
Young
Fortinbras has demanded that we
surrender
the lands lost by his father. I have sent
word
to the aged king of Norway, ordering him
to
bring young Fortinbras into line! Not one
patch of land shall we give up!
The King looks around the room. Everyone except
Hamlet looks pleased. The King looks at Laertes.
KING
Now, good Laertes, did you have
something you
wished to ask of me?
LAERTES
Yes, Sire, your leave and favor to return
to
France.
KING
Ahh, France, eh? I'm told that France is
a
lovely country, and I hear they make
most
excellent wines there. Go. Enjoy

yourself.
And be sure to send some postcards.
Now, my nephew Hamlet, my son, how
is it the clouds still hang on you?
Hamlet turns to face the audience, and we see his face
for the first time. Hamlet has a big, black mustache that
looks as if it might have been painted on, and he
smokes a cigar.
HAMLET
Nay, I am too much in the sun! Get it?
That's a
joke. My real father just died, and now
I've got
you for a father, so I'm too much in the
sun! Boy,
that Shakespeare sure could write. I'd
like to see
Francis Bacon pull off a joke like that.
KING
Hmmmmm. Come, Hamlet, my son, how
is it the
clouds still hang on you?
HAMLET
I don't know. Maybe it's because you're
reigning.
QUEEN
Good Hamlet, I know full well the love
you bore
your father. But cast thy nighted color
off! If he
were here today, do you think your father

would
want us to mourn on and on, wearing the
same
customary suit of solemn black, day in
and day out?
HAMLET
Well, he'd probably ask you to change
your socks.
QUEEN
Hamlet, . . .
HAMLET
In fact, that's still a pretty good idea.
And while
you're at it, change your husband.
QUEEN
Hamlet, I loved your dear, departed
father. No
woman could have loved him more.
HAMLET
Of course not! No other dame ever had a
chance,
not with you watching him like a hawk.
And a
fat lot of good it did him, ... poor old
Dad.
KING
Hamlet, it's unfortunate that your father
died, but
fathers have a way of doing that. My
father died,
and his father died before him, and his

father
died...
HAMLET
Yeah, but uncles go on forever. Don't
you?
KING
Hamlet, why don't you try to think of me
as
your father?
HAMLET
OK, bury yourself six feet underground,
and I'll
give it a shot.
KING
Gertrude, we must do something about
this son of
yours.
Exeunt all but Hamlet.
HAMLET
Oh that this too, too solid flesh would
melt, or at
least that they would turn up the heat a
little. To
think that it should come to this! My
father but
two months dead, and my mother
married to this
satyr. I recall the day they wed. It was a
satyr-day.
Heaven and Earth, must I remember? My
mother

has married my uncle, and turned me into my own


cousin. Frailty, thy name is woman. And
woman,
thy name is Frailty. My name is Hamlet,
and I'm
ashamed to meet the both of you.
Enter Horatio, Francisco and Bernardo. Horatio
consults with his friends.
HORATIO
Hey, is that him?
HAMLET
Horatio, -- or I do forget myself!
HORATIO
Well, I don't know. Who do you think you
are?
HAMLET
I'm Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.
HORATIO
Then you don't forget yourself... not
unless you're
the man who comes to fix the sink. Then
you got
a problem.
HAMLET
This can't be anyone but Horatio. Don't
you
remember me? We went to school
together!
HORATIO
Sure, I know you! You're Hamlet!
HAMLET

And you're Horatio! But I thought you were still


going to school in Wittenberg.
HORATIO
No, I left there a long time ago. I was too
smart for
them.
HAMLET
Oh really?
HORATIO
Yeah. All the professors said they'd
never be able
to teach me anything.
HAMLET
Horatio, something is rotten in the state
of Denmark,
and I think it's you.
HORATIO
That reminds me. I think I saw your
father's ghost
last night!
HAMLET
What? Are you sure it was him? Did you
speak
to him?
HORATIO
We spoke. But he wouldn't answer.
HAMLET
That sounds like Dad, all right. Listen,
boys, this is
something I'm going to have to see for
myself. Let's

meet at the top of the castle tonight.


Exeunt.
**********************************************************
Scene III
Scene III takes place in a room in Polonius' house.
Enter Laertes and Ophelia.
LAERTES
My necessaries are embarked. Farewell.
And
sister, do be wary of the affections of
Prince
Hamlet. Perhaps he does love you now,
but he
is subject to his birth, and therefore he
must
choose a royal bride.
OPHELIA
Laertes, don't be such an ass! Use your
brain for
once! Do you think for one minute that
Claudius
is going to let Hamlet marry a princess?
LAERTES
Huh?
OPHELIA
Listen! Hamlet has a better claim to the
throne
than his uncle Claudius does, right? If
Hamlet
marries into another royal family, he'll

gain
powerful allies to help him win the
crown. You
think Claudius wants that? All I have to
do is
convince the King that Hamlet's been
toying
with my affections, and I guarantee you
we'll be
married before Hamlet knows what's hit
him.
Then I'll figure out some way to get rid of
Claudius, and I'll be Queen of Denmark!
LAERTES
Sister, you're brilliant! But look, here
comes
our father!
Enter Polonius.
POLONIUS
Yet here, Laertes? My blessings with
thee!
And take these few precepts in thy
memory:
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Enter Horatio.
HORATIO
What's he gonna do in France if he can't
be vulgar?
How's he gonna fit in?
POLONIUS
Horatio, you're not supposed to be here,

are you?
HORATIO
No, but I got two more hours before I'm
supposed
to go to a secret meeting with Hamlet at
the top of
the castle, so I got lots of time to kill.
POLONIUS
I was just giving some advice to my son.
HORATIO
That's OK. I'll add vice too. I got lots of
vice.
POLONIUS
Very well. Laertes, neither a borrower
nor a lender
be . . .
HORATIO
That's a good idea. But you know what?
You're too
late. Laertes loaned me ten gold kroner
this morning.
POLONIUS
Then give it back to him!
HORATIO
I can't. Right after he gave me the
money, I put it
down, and then I lost it.
POLONIUS
You put it down and lost it???
HORATIO
Yeah, I put it down on a horse.

POLONIUS
This is terrible.
HORATIO
Yeah, now your son, he's a lender, and
what are we
gonna do? Hey, I got a great idea! You
loan me ten
gold kroner, and then I'll pay Laertes
back, and then
he won't be a lender anymore.
POLONIUS
But if I lend you the money, then I'll be a
lender, and
you'll still be a borrower.
HORATIO
OK, I got a better idea. You don't be a
lender, I don't
be a borrower. You just give me the
money. How's
that?
POLONIUS
I don't know about this.
HORATIO
You want your son to stay a lender all his
life?
Polonius reaches into his money bag and takes out a
gold coin.
POLONIUS
But all I've got is this twenty-kroner
piece. Have
you got change for that?

HORATIO
No, but I'll take it, just the same.
Horatio pockets the twenty-kroner piece.
POLONIUS
At least you can now pay back to Laertes
the
ten kroner you owe him.
HORATIO
Laertes, you got change for twenty
kroner?
LAERTES
No, I'm afraid not.
Horatio turns to Polonius.
HORATIO
Now we got another problem. I can't give
this
coin to him. If I give him the coin, he'll
owe
me money. If he owes me money, then
he'll be
a borrower. He can't be a borrower if you
just
told him not to be a borrower!
POLONIUS
But...
HORATIO
Hey, I just got another great idea.
Laertes, why
don't you just say you gave me the ten
gold
kroner? Then you won't be a lender!

You won't
be a borrower! You'll just be a nice guy,
like
your father!
LAERTES
Sounds okay to me.
Ophelia, the only really smart one in the family, is
furious with Horatio. She scolds him, while Polonius
and Laertes try to figure out what's been going on.
OPHELIA
Horatio, you're nothing but a cheap,
conniving
crook!
HORATIO
Yeah, that's me.
OPHELIA
How can you be so dishonest?
HORATIO
One time I tried to be honest, but then I
said to
myself, "Horatio, to thine own self be
true."
So if mine own self is a crook, that's
what I gotta
do. Good-bye!
Horatio walks out with his twenty-kroner piece.
Ophelia glares at him. Laertes and Polonius are still
trying to puzzle out what happened to their money.
Exeunt Ophelia, Laertes and Polonius.
**********************************************************

Scene IV
Scene IV takes place back on the platform in front of
Elsinore Castle, where Scene I took place.
Enter
Hamlet, Horatio, Bernardo and Francisco.
HAMLET
The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
Say, are
you fellows sure this is where dear old
Dad
is going to show up?
BERNARDO
The ghost has appeared at this very spot
three
nights past, my lord, then vanished
before the sun
came up.
We hear the distant pounding of a kettledrum, and a
flourish of trumpets.
FRANCISCO
What does this mean, my lord?
HAMLET
That's the King. He has the musicians
play while
he drinks. He doesn't like to drink alone,
so he
has them play eight to the bar. You see,
the King
likes to take a drink before he goes to
bed at night.
Then he likes to take a drink when he's in
bed,

especially if the Queen is still awake. Then the


Queen throws him out of bed, so he has
to take
another drink. Then he's ready to throw
the Queen
out of bed, which calls for another drink.
Every
time he takes a drink, he has the
musicians bang
the kettledrum. As soon as the King is
as tight
as the drum, he knows it's time to fall
asleep.
HORATIO
Hey, that sounds like a pretty good job.
You
think I could be a king?
HAMLET
Well, would you be willing to marry your
brother's
wife? Do you think you could do that?
Horatio thinks this over.
HORATIO
I don't know.
HAMLET
Well, come on. Do you want to be king,
or don't
you?
HORATIO
If I marry the wife, do I get his mistress
too?

HAMLET
That's not strictly required. It's not really
part of
the job. But I'm sure we could work
something
out.
HORATIO
Is she pretty?
HAMLET
The wife or the mistress?
HORATIO
Yes!
HAMLET
You'll have to take that up with your
brother.
HORATIO
Hey, I just remembered! I haven't got a
brother!
HAMLET
Then you'll have to take that up with your
parents.
You do have parents, don't you?
Otherwise, you'll
just have to take it up with your
grandparents.
HORATIO
I've got a great idea! Why don't I just
take your
wife?
HAMLET
My wife? I'm not even married!

HORATIO
That's all right. I can wait.
BERNARDO
Look my lord, it comes!
The Ghost enters, and is overjoyed to see Hamlet. The
Ghost claps his hands and runs to embrace his son.
HAMLET
Dad!
As the Ghost embraces Hamlet, the Ghost sticks his
hands into the pockets of Hamlet's coat, pulls out an
apple, and starts to eat it.
HAMLET
Gee, it's nice to see you, Dad.
The Ghost nods happily, enjoying the apple. Then the
Ghost beckons Hamlet to follow him.
HAMLET
I think you boys better go. I think he
wants to be
alone with his son.
HORATIO
All right.
Exeunt Horatio, Bernardo and Francisco. Again, the
Ghost beckons Hamlet to follow him.
HAMLET
OK, I'll follow you.
Exeunt the Ghost and Hamlet.
**********************************************************
Scene V
Scene V takes place on another part of the platform.
Enter the Ghost and Hamlet.

HAMLET
Where wilt thou lead me? I'll go no
further.
The Ghost shrugs, and stops.
HAMLET
So, Dad, what's new?
The Ghost points to the apple core, grins, and gestures
that he'd like something else to eat.
HAMLET
I'm sorry, I don't have any more apples.
The Ghost makes a horrible disgusted face and turns
away from Hamlet.
HAMLET
Gee, if I'd only known, I...
The Ghost makes a disparaging wave of his arms at
Hamlet, and makes another horrible face.
HAMLET
Dad, isn't there something you wanted to
tell me?
The Ghost suddenly remembers! He claps his hands
and sits Hamlet down, and indicates that Hamlet should
watch him.
HAMLET
Oh. OK. You're going to tell me a story.
The Ghost nods his head happily. Then he reaches
into his coat and pulls out a little pillow. He puts the
pillow down on the floor and mimes going to sleep with
his head on the pillow. Hamlet waits for a minute,
watching the Ghost sleep.
HAMLET
Say, I thought Ghost stories were

supposed to
keep you awake.
The Ghost puts his fingers to his lips to indicate that
Hamlet should be quiet, while he's sleeping.
HAMLET
OK, you're sleeping. Where are you
sleeping?
The Ghost, still pretending to be asleep, holds up his
hand, with the back of his hand facing the audience.
Then he pushes up the apple core to the top of his
fingers, and mimes plucking an apple.
HAMLET
Oh, you're asleep in the apple orchard. I
remember,
you liked to sleep there!
The Ghost nods "yes."
HAMLET
What happens next?
The Ghost stands up, takes the pillow and puts it under
his shirt. He pretends to be fat. Then he pulls at an
imaginary beard.
HAMLET
A fat man... a fat man with a beard...
The Ghost makes an ugly face and mimes yelling and
being angry.
HAMLET
A fat, nasty man with a beard! Your
brother
Claudius!
The Ghost nods "yes." Then he goes back to putting
on the nasty, evil face of Claudius. He stomps around

the stage, pulling on his beard.


HAMLET
What does he do?
The Ghost, pretending to be Claudius, notices the
apple core lying on the stage. He picks it up, sees that
it's been eaten, and brutishly throws it away. He looks
around the stage, and then looks in surprise at the spot
where the Ghost was sleeping.
The Ghost whips out the pillow, and resumes sleeping
at that spot.
HAMLET
OK, Claudius found you sleeping. What
happened next?
The Ghost jumps up, puts the pillow back in under his
shirt, and pretends to be Claudius. He reaches into his
coat, and pulls out a bottle of poison. Then he reaches
into his coat with his other hand and pulls out a funnel.
He walks over to where
the Ghost has been sleeping, and mimes putting the
funnel into the sleeping man's ear, and he pours the
contents of the bottle into the funnel. Then the Ghost
whips out the pillow and becomes himself sleeping,
with the funnel in his ear, and the
poison being poured into it. The Ghost wakes up and
dies horribly.
HAMLET
Oh no! Murder! Foul and unnatural
murder!
Claudius poured poison into your ear
and
killed you!!! Oh murder most foul!!!

The Ghost sits up and nods his head in agreement.


HAMLET
Oh horrible! Oh, horrible, most horrible!
...
Well, what do you want me to do about
it?
The Ghost mimes hitting, kicking, choking, and
jumping up and down on someone.
HAMLET
You want me to take revenge on
Claudius?
The Ghost nods "yes."
HAMLET
Well, that sounds fair enough. What
about Mom?
The Ghost shakes his head "no." He reaches into his
coat and takes out a poster-sized picture of the Queen.
He kisses the picture and looks coy.
HAMLET
Not Mom. You still love Mom. Aww,
that's
sweet. It's crazy, but it's sweet. Maybe
you
should have your head examined, or at
least
your eyes.
The Ghost clutches the picture of the Queen to his
chest, and looks threateningly at Hamlet.
HAMLET
OK! Don't worry. I won't hurt Mom. Just
Claudius.

The Ghost shakes Hamlet's hand and pats him on the


back. Then the Ghost proceeds to put the picture, the
pillow, the bottle and the funnel back into his coat.
HAMLET
You have to go so soon?
The Ghost points to the horizon.
HAMLET
Oh, I see. The dawn is coming up. OK,
Dad. It
was nice seeing you again. I'll get your
revenge
for you. You can count on me.
The Ghost waves good-bye and exits.
HAMLET
Hmmmm. Now what am I going to do? I
can't just go downstairs and kill
Claudius.
This is only Act I, and we've still got a
whole play to fill up. I know! I'll pretend
I've
gone crazy. That won't help me get
revenge,
but it should take up a few hours, and it
may
liven things up around here.
Enter Horatio, Bernardo, and Francisco.
BERNARDO
Lord Hamlet!
FRANCISCO
What news, my lord?
HAMLET

Listen, boys, I don't want any of you to ever say


a word about seeing that ghost, all right?
Off stage, the Ghost honks his horn.
HAMLET
Swear!
BERNARDO
Propose the oath, my lord, and we will
swear it.
HAMLET
Never to speak of what you have seen
this night.
FRANCISCO
But we haven't seen anything!
HAMLET
Then never to speak of what you haven't
seen!
HORATIO
I'm not sure I can remember everything I
haven't
seen.
Off stage, the Ghost honks his horn.
HAMLET
Swear! Swear that you'll remember to
forget
everything you haven't seen.
HORATIO
I don't know. I've got a pretty good
memory.
Hamlet gives each of then a gold kroner piece.
HAMLET
Look, I'm going to lend each of you ten

kroner.
Will you remember to pay back this loan?
HORATIO
What loan?
FRANCISCO
We have forgotten everything, my lord!
Off stage, the Ghost honks his horn.
HAMLET
Swear! Swear by my sword.
Hamlet isn't wearing a sword in this scene. After this
scene, he does wear a sword.
HORATIO
You forgot to bring your sword!
HAMLET
Then cross your hearts and hope to die!
Off stage, the Ghost honks his horn.
HAMLET
Swear!
HORATIO, BERNARDO,
& FRANCISCO
We swear!
HAMLET
So, gentlemen, let us go in together; and
still your
fingers on your lips, I pray. The time is
out of joint.
Oh cursed spite, that ever I was born to
set it right!
Exeunt.
**********************************************************