I follow thee.

Not for the first time, I imagine the arrivals in the after life for these characters. Hamlet turns up moments after Laertes who has arrived moments after Claudius who has arrived moments after Gertrude. These folks would have a lot to work out. Especially if Ophelia, Polonius and King Hamlet are there waiting for them – and possibly also Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, depending on when they arrived in England and how quickly the King of England executed the order of execution.

Of course, this afterlife I’m imagining demands that these folks haven’t been sorted for heaven and hell. Or else they’re just all in hell. Because who, truly, is not ending up there in this play? We’d like to think this exchange between Laertes and Hamlet would do the trick but I’m not entirely sure.


So – it’s a more neutral afterlife. We’ve got, like, Elsinore No Exit here.

***

Hamlet appears in a light. He is disoriented. He has just died. Flights of angels have sung him to his rest and he lands in this quiet pool of light. He looks around, tries to make sense of his surroundings.

HAMLET: The undiscovered country? It’s a lot quieter here than I’d have expected. Hello? Hello?

LAERTES: (in his own pool of light) Hello? Hello?

HAMLET: Who’s there?

LAERTES: Who is he that calls?

HAMLET: Laertes?

LAERTES: Hamlet?

The lights expand to include them both.

HAMLET: I guess we’re dead.

LAERTES: Sorry about that.

HAMLET: Same.

LAERTES: I think I may have died before I got to ask for forgiveness for that and before I could give it.

HAMLET: No, you did. I got it.

LAERTES: Oh good. That’s a relief.

HAMLET: Are we the only ones here? It feels very quiet for an afterlife. I mean, I’m assuming Claudius went to hell.

Claudius enters.

CLAUDIUS: How do you know we’re not in hell?

HAMLET: If you’re here then we must be – though my father mentioned fire and sulphorous flames so it seems like this isn’t that.

LAERTES: It could be a holding station – a sort of middle way. After all, we’ve all just died and we all, more or less, killed each other. Maybe they haven’t decided what to do with us yet.

HAMLET: It seems a bit cruel to lump us all in together. He’s the last person I wanted to see in the afterlife.

CLAUDIUS: How do you think I feel?

Gertrude enters

GERTRUDE: I’d very much like to know the answer to that question. How do you feel? You killed me while trying to kill my son. What were you thinking?

CLAUDIUS: I didn’t mean to.

GERTRUDE: Oh, I know. But you didn’t exactly rush to stop it either. And now – look – I died thinking that at least I’d saved my son and now look who’s here. What did you all DO once I shuffled off my mortal coil?

LAERTES: Technically, it was me.

GERTRUDE: Was it? What did you do?

LAERTES: I sliced him with a poison sword.

GERTRUDE: A poison sword. A poison sword.

LAERTES: I’m very sorry.

HAMLET: He is very sorry. He confessed everything before he died.

CLAUDIUS: (to Gertrude) Are you not upset to see me here, too?

GERTRUDE: No. I’d have sent you here myself if I weren’t already dead.

CLAUDIUS: I’m hurt.

GERTRUDE: Not as hurt as I am that you just let me die like that. “She swounds to see them bleed.” Are you kidding me with that? You know I love a bloodsport.

That’s when I knew it was you. I suspected before but that’s when I knew.

HAMLET: I killed him for you, mother. And for me. And for my father. Who he also killed, just, by the way. I was a little bit vague about that with you before but there’s no point in dancing around it now. Claudius killed his brother, my father and took his crown and his wife and my future and all of our lives, now that I think about it.

GERTRUDE: I did wonder. But you know, you tell yourself not to worry too much about things you can’t change, don’t you? Don’t you? When you have no real power but the man on your arm, you just – make do. You know? No, of course you don’t know. Look at this, trapped in the after life with nothing but men. It’s just like court life.

Ophelia enters, takes one look at the assembled group and retreats.

LAERTES: Sweet sister, don’t go.

Ophelia sighs.

OPHELIA: My brother. What are you doing here? It was just me and our father. We were doing just fine – singing and what not. How long has it been? And why do you look no older than the last time I saw you?

LAERTES: It hasn’t been long. I went to revenge our father’s murder and got myself killed.

OPHELIA: That was very stupid of you.

LAERTES: I know.

OPHELIA: I do not approve.

LAERTES: Death has changed you, Ophelia.

OPHELIA: It’s very clarifying. You do something for yourself once and you suddenly realize that you missed the opportunity to choose for yourself your whole life. And you realize a few things.

LAERTES: Father’s here, too?

OPHELIA: He is. I’m sure he’d like to see you – though also not – because it means you are dead and he is not going to be happy about that – though certainly he might not be displeased about the rest of you meeting your ends. Especially you, Father Killer.

HAMLET: I’m sorry, Ophelia. Really. It was an accident. He was spying behind the arras and I thought it was the king so I killed the king, I thought, but then it wasn’t the king.

OPHELIA: No it wasn’t.

CLAUDIUS: See – I was right to send him to England. Trying to kill me.

HAMLET: To avenge my father’s death.

CLAUDIUS: How do you know I wasn’t avenging mine?

HAMLET: What?

CLAUDIUS: You think you’re so righteous but how do you know I wasn’t avenging my own father’s death, just like you?

HAMLET: Are you saying my father killed his father?

CLAUDIUS: I’m not saying he did and I’m not saying he didn’t. I’m just saying you don’t know.

HAMLET: But Grandpa Hamlet died of a heart attack.

CLAUDIUS: Or did he?

Enter Polonius

POLONIUS: Laertes. I thought I heard your voice. I’m so glad to see you but also very upset! What are you doing here?

LAERTES: I died avenging your death, Father.

POLONIUS:  What a good boy, killing my killer. Thank you, son.

LAERTES: You’re welcome, father.

POLONIUS: Though I do wish it had not killed you.

LAERTES: Me, too.

A sound goes off. Like an alarm – the lights go dark. Rosencrantz appears in a spotlight.

ROSENCRANTZ: Did they miss? Did I pass out? Do I still have my head? I still have my head. Guildenstern, are you here, too? Have we been pardoned?

Guildenstern appears in a spotlight.

POLONIUS: New arrivals.

OPHELIA: Poor things. It always takes them awhile to work this afterlife thing out.

GUILDENSTERN: Rosencrantz? Is that you? But you have your head. I saw you lose it.

ROSENCRANTZ: Then we haven’t been spared.

GUILDENSTERN: No.

ROSENCRANTZ: We were really just summarily executed by the king of England for no good reason.

GUILDENSTERN: So it would appear.

ROSENCRANTZ: And this is the afterlife.

GUILDENSTERN: It’s just you and me here? What a weird afterlife.

ROSENCRANTZ: Well, as long as King Claudius isn’t here. That guy scared the beejeezus out of me.

CLAUDIUS: (appearing to them) Hello Rosencrantz and Guldenstern.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern scream and run into one another’s arms.

CLAUDIUS: I did not expect to see you here so soon.

ROSENCRANTZ: Where’s here? Back in Denmark? Is this Denmark?

GUILDENSTERN: Hamlet did say it was a goodly prison. You remember when he said that?

ROSENCRANTZ: I do.

GUILDENSTERN: I think we maybe should have listened to him.

HAMLET: I think so too.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who have slowly separarated leap back into one another’s arms.

ROSENCRANTZ: Hamlet! He’s –  Uh. We thought the Pirates had taken you.

HAMLET: They did.

GUILDENSTERN: Is that what happened? We’re all dead and in hell and you got killed by pirates?

HAMLET: Not quite.

ROSENCRANTZ: I just don’t understand anything. All I know was we were supposed to take you to England and then we got accosted by Pirates but they only took you –which I thought was weird. Didn’t you think that was weird, Guildenstern?

GUILDENSTERN: What –

ROSENCRANTZ: When those pirates just took Hamlet and sent us on our way to London. That seemed very unpiratelike behavior and I was confused by it.

GUILDENSTERN: I don’t find it nearly as confusing as why we suddenly got our heads chopped off after delivering official documents to the English king. It seems like a very rude way to treat messengers.

CLAUDIUS: It is. I am shocked and appalled to discover that my emissaries were treated this way.

GUILDENSTERN: We thought maybe it was your orders.

CLAUDIUS: My orders? Why would I have some of my best gophers killed? That would be quite mad.

GUILDENSTERN: The commission that the king read right before he killed us had your seal on it. He said it was your special request.

CLAUDIUS: It was not. I promise you. The commission I sent to England asked for Hamlet’s death, not yours.

GERTRUDE: What?

ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN: What?

HAMLET: Told you.

GERTRUDE: Claudius, how could you?

CLAUDIUS: I hadn’t worked out how to do it at home yet – it seemed the only way – then he came back and Laertes showed up and there it was, the perfect solution – though I cannot imagine how the king of England got those instructions so wrong. I was very clear that it was Hamlet’s head that was to be struck off. Just goes to show that if you want something done right, you really have to do it yourself. Or through an instrument in front of you.

LAERTES: You really are awful. I can’t believe I let myself be manipulated by you. I should have gone through with that coup.

POLONIUS: You staged a coup? Laertes! That’s very extreme – even for you.

LAERTES: I did it for you. He just sort of tossed you into a corner after Hamlet killed you. No funeral. No state ceremony. No official mourning period.

POLONIUS: Is this true, Claudius?

CLAUDIUS: I didn’t want to make a big fuss – if we put Hamlet on trial for your death, who knows what he’d let slip.

HAMLET: You knew I knew.

CLAUDIUS: That little play you put on was a dead give away.

HAMLET: The mousetrap caught the mouse.

CLAUDIUS: Did it? Was I the mouse?

HAMLET: Yes.

CLAUDIUS: Well. I killed you first, mouse.

HAMLET: No. I killed you first.

CLAUDIUS: Wrong. I killed you then you killed me. Just because I died first due to having been killed in multiple ways doesn’t mean you got there first.

HAMLET: Fine. You died first. I got the satisfaction of watching you go before shuffling off myself.

LAERTES: And technically – it was me that killed Hamlet, though I am very happy for the king to take that sin off my plate. If you claim Hamlet’s death, then I’m pretty free and clear in the sin department.

POLONIUS: I am happy for you to have that weight removed – revenge or not revenge.

OPHELIA: Can you all stop bragging about who killed who? It was clearly a crazy bloodbath and I’m glad I got into a nice clean stream when I did because you all are really quite mad about killing.

GERTRUDE: Well said, Ophelia. You seem to have gathered a great deal of sense since we last saw you.

OPHELIA: Death is very clarifying, don’t you find?

GERTRUDE: I do. I do. I mean – all the things I used to care about seem to have fallen away.

OPHELIA: Like caring what men think of you?

GERTRUDE: Yes! Exactly. I find I have not the slightest interest in catering to a single one of these men and I will confess to you, Ophelia, that I used to care a great deal about several of them.

OPHELIA: Me, too. I cared so much that when they were gone, I just figured there was nothing left of me. Boy, was I wrong. I wish I could have stopped mid death because once that process get started, it all started to come into focus.

CLAUDIUS: What are you girls going on about?

GERTRUDE: It is really none of your business, Queen-killer. King-killer. Prince-killer. Were you trying to wipe out the entire line? Well – it looks as though you succeeded. The whole Danish Line is here together dead. We’re going to have Norweigans or Swedes or God help us, the English, going through all of our things. What a nightmare! Oh how I wish I’d had time to prepare. My desk is in such disarray and there are a few letters I really wish I had burned.

LAERTES: Ohhhh letters.

POLONIUS: Ohhhh letters.

OPHELIA: (to Hamlet) You have most of my letters.

HAMLET: I don’t.

OPHELIA: Well, I suppose I never had any privacy anyway. What with my father reading whatever he could find and somehow he always found everything.

POLONIUS: It was for your own good, sweet Ophelia.

OPHELIA: Was it? See – I don’t think so. I thought so before – that’s why I returned those letters even though I really didn’t want to – I thought you were thinking of me but I don’t think so anymore. Now I think you were thinking of youself.

POLONIUS: Fair Ophelia – how could you think so ill of your poor dead father?

OPHELIA: Oh, I didn’t. I thought you were the sun and the moon and the stars and then the sun set on you and everything went dark. But…I know now that you weren’t the sun and the moon and the stars. You were just a person. You were a person who made mistakes and wanted things like any other person. Like me. And I realized that many things that I’d thought you were doing for me, you were really doing for you.

POLONIUS: Ophelia. Be sweet.

OPHELIA: I’m done with that.

POLONIUS: Laertes. Help me.

LAERTES: I don’t know how.

POLONIUS: Talk to your sister.

LAERTES: You’ll work it out.

POLONIUS: What?

HAMLET: Did you?

POLONIUS: Well, I suspected as much.

HAMLET: Huh.

POLONIUS: I mean. I couldn’t prove it. And then I thought, no…but…yeah.

OPHELIA: So you weren’t mad?

HAMLET: No.

OPHELIA: Just an asshole, then.

HAMLET: I guess?

OPHELIA: I’m out of here. I’m going to go find some other people to spend my after life with. Maybe some actually nice ones.

ROSENCRANTZ: We can do that? Just go spend eternity with different people?

GUILDENSTERN: I hope so. I don’t know why we ended up back with this screwed up Danish court. I’d have preferred to be reunited with my Uncle Charlie, truth be told. I don’t know why we were sent here.

HAMLET: Probably beause we’re all wrapped up in one another’s deaths.

GUILDENSTERN: That’s silly. I’m going.  Ophelia, do you mind  if I follow you out?! I promise I won’t tag along forever, I just think I need a slipstream to ride out on.

OPHELIA: Fine.

ROSENCRANTZ: I’m coming too.

GUILDENSTERN: Shocker.

ROSENCRANTZ: What’s that supposed to mean?

GUILDENSTERN: You can’t do anything on your own.

ROSENCRANTZ: Neither can you.

GUILDENSTERN: I think I’m ready to try.

ROSENCRANTZ: Fine.

GUILDENSTERN: Fine.

ROSENCRANTZ: Fine.

OPHELIA: I’m going. I don’t care who follows me but I’m not taking care of anyone.

ROSENCRANTZ: Fine.

OPHELIA: Farewell.

Exit Ophelia.  Guildenstern follows.

GUILDENSTERN: Farewell.

Rosencrantz follows.

ROSENCRANTZ: Farewell.

(from offstage)

GUILDENSTERN: You followed me!

ROSENCRANTZ: Just using the slipstream.

LAERTES: Wait. That’s my sister.

Exit Laertes

POLONIUS: Laertes! Where are you going?

Exit Polonius

GERTRUDE (to Hamlet): You don’t want to go after Ophelia?

HAMLET: I don’t think she wants me too. Also – she’s not the same Ophelia.

GERTRUDE: True. I actually like her more now.

HAMLET: Maybe you should follow her.

GERTRUDE: Maybe I should. It would be nice to spend some time with another woman for a change.

HAMLET: What is HE still doing here?

GERTRUDE: Who?

HAMLET: Your husband. My uncle.

GERTRUDE: I don’t know. I certainly don’t want him.

CLAUDIUS: Gertrude.

GERTRUDE: You killed me. And you killed BOTH my Hamlets. BOTH of them. Maybe I could forgive you killing me but I cannot forgive you for killing my son. Multiple times.

CLAUDIUS: I did not kill him multiple times.

GERTRUDE: No but you TRIED to kill him multiple times.

CLAUDIUS: You knew what I was up to.

GERTRUDE: Did i? I don’t think so Claudius, that’s why you ddin’t tell me anything. Good god, I should have let your brother kill you.

CLAUDIUS: What are you talking about?

GERTRUDE: Your brother found out you were collecting poisons and he was sure you were going to try something so he planned to have you ambushed one night – make it seem like some runagate thieves and I talked him out of it. Oh, you should have heard me, “He’s your brother, Hammie. You can’t kill your very own brother. You’re being paranoid. Lots of people mess around with poisons.” I’ve got a lot of egg on my face now, looks like. I should have let him kill you. We’d ALL still be alive of it wasn’t for you. And now – now – the line of Danish kings is stopped. That’s it. You destroyed it.

CLAUDIUS: He wanted to kill me?

GERTRUDE: He had it all organized.

CLAUDIUS: Well – that’s great!

GERTRUDE: What?

CLAUDIUS: I mean – that justifies me, doesn’t it? I only killed him to prevent him from killing me!

GERTRUDE: Oh Claudius. You are a fool. He decided not to. You’re not in any way justified.

CLAUDIUS: Oh I think so.

GERTRUDE: You think because you were going to kill him and he thought he should stop you by killing you first that you were justified in doing what you were thinking of doing already?

CLAUDIUS: Absolutely.

GERTRUDE: If you weren’t already dead, I’d kill you myself.

HAMLET: I would very much like to do it again. It was very satisfying.

GERTRUDE: You shouldn’t say that here!

HAMLET: You think not? I’m not sure this after life is what we imagined. I see no angels nor any devils. Instead I’m stuck with the man who murdered both me and my father and my mother. Maybe I ought to have killed myself when I had the chance.

CLAUDIUS: You’d have saved me a lot of trouble if you had.

HAMLET: Then it’s very good I didn’t!

GERTRUDE: Yes it’s good you didn’t! Sheep and shepherd!

A light appears and Fortinbras appears in it.

FORTINBRAS: What the? Where am I? What is this place?

HAMLET: Fortinbras! What happened to you?

FORTINBRAS: Hamlet? I thought you were dead! You were dead. We put your body on the stage. Had a world class military funeral.

HAMLET: Did you? Oh wow. That’s so nice. Did Horatio tell you you had my dying voice?

FORTINBRAS: He did.

HAMLET: Good. Good. But really, Fortinbras, what happened? You were meant to take my place!

FORTINBRAS: I was planning on it. But somehow I ended up here instead. Where are we? Claudius? Is that you? You were dead, too. And the Queen. What’s happening?

GERTRUDE: Good Fortinbras. I’m sorry to give you such bad news but you’ve died.

FORTINBRAS: What?! No. No. That’s impossible.

GERTRUDE: I’m afraid there’d be no other reason you’d be here as far as I can tell.

FORTINBRAS: It’s not like I was in battle. How did this happen?!

HAMLET: What’s the last thing you remember?

FORTINBRAS: Let’s see. We’d put all your bodies on the stge. We’d shot off the cannons. We had Horatio say a few words then I toasted to the line of Danish Kings that came before and to the line of Norweigan ones to follow.

HAMLET: And then?

FORTINBRAS: And then nothing. I can’t recall a thing. Then I was here.

GERTRUDE: It was the drink. My God Claudius how strong was that poison? It’s killed at least three people.

CLAUDIUS: I’m innocent. I’m dead after all.

GERTRUDE: Was it a stoup of wine?

FORTINBRAS: Yes.

GERTRUDE: Did it taste a little funny? Like a little nutty or bitter or…

FORTINBRAS: Now that you mention it.

GERTRUDE: Where did you get this wine?

FORTINBRAS: Someone handed it to me.

GERTRUDE: Who?

CLAUDIUS and HAMLET: Osric.

GERTRUDE: Orsric?! No.

FORTINBRAS: What’s Osric?

HAMLET: Little Lapwing of a man.

CLAUDIUS: Kind of a waterfly.

HAMLET: That’s what I said earlier! Were you spying?

FORTINBRAS: Are you saying this Osric killed me?

GERTRUDE: Maybe not on purpose. How was he to know that goblet was poisoned?

HAMLET: I don’t know – maybe you shouting, “I am poisoned. I am poisoned.” After you drank from it?

CLAUDIUS: OR this ungrateful prince of Denmark here forcing me to drink from it.

HAMLET: Or from Horatio threatening to kill himself with it after you all were dead.

GERTRUDE: Osric! Why?

CLAUDIUS: Who can say?

HAMLET: Where was he in the line of succession?

CLAUDIUS: What do you mean?

HAMLET: If you hadn’t swooped in and taken the throne from me – what was the succession that my father had laid out?

CLAUDIUS: I don’t know. How would I know that?

HAMLET: I think you did know. And I think Osric did too. I think he’s somewhere, a few people deep and I think he relished his position as sixth in line for the throne and did not relish you, Fortinbras, taking it away from him.

FORTINBRAS: Sixth in line? I was killed by someone sixth in line?! This is ridiculous.

HAMLET: Maybe it was on accident, as my mother so optimistically imagines – but I wouldn’t trust that Osric as far as I can throw him.

CLAUDIUS: Nor would I. Sixth, was he? What a surprise.

HAMLET: Well, he’s a lot closer now!

FORTINBRAS: Your kingdom is cursed. I rue the day I ever crossed it.

HAMLET: I don’t blame you.

FORTINBRAS: Poisoned? By the sixth in line?! My God. This is very embarrassing. Why didn’t anyone try to stop him?

HAMLET: Well. We were all dead for one thing.

FORTINBRAS: Sixth in line. Unbelievable.

HAMLET: He might as well be king now, actually. Because the thing is, we’d already managed to eliminate most of the rest ourselves. And then if, say, the 4th and 5th in line didn’t happen to be there, it’s relatively easy to just seize the throne at that point.

FORTINBRAS: I can’t believe. I wasn’t on my guard. I heard the story. I saw the bodies -why wasn’t I extra careful? Maybe had a taster?

CLAUDIUS: Always have a taster.

HAMLET: He should know, he’s a poisoner. Also, incidentally the person who put that poison in that wine – so I guess we could say he killed you too.

CLAUDIUS: No, no. That’s not fair. I was dead before this guy even showed up.

HAMLET: But you did make that poison.

CLAUDIUS: It was really potent stuff, huh? I should have tried that ages ago. Saved us all some trouble.

HAMLET: I don’t think you’d have saved me any trouble. I’m pretty sure you meant that poison for me regardless.

CLAUDIUS: I cannot deny it – though I would like to – I somehow cannot deny it.

FORTINBRAS: What a nightmare. 

GERTRUDE: I cannot believe you, Claudius. I just cannot believe you were such a skunk this whole time and I had no idea.

CLAUDIUS: You loved my skunkiness.

GERTRUDE: I had no idea, you skunk. I loved that you loved me or at least pretended to. You made me feel seen in a moment I was disappearing. That was hard to resist. I saw no reason to resist, really.

HAMLET: Didn’t think about your son’s success at all, did you?

GERTRUDE: I assumed it would come in time.

HAMLET: Well, it sure didn’t. I will never be king.

FORTINBRAS: Me, neither.

HAMLET: I am sorry.

FORTINBRAS: Not your fault it would seem. You know what? I’m gonna go back and haunt that Osric. Sixth in line. Oh he’s going to hear from me.

CLAUDIUS: We can do that?

GERTRUDE: Who would you haunt?

CLAUDIUS: Hamlet.

GERTRUDE: Too late. You already killed him.

FORTINBRAS: Good bye, Danes. I’m going to go rattle some chains at that Osric.

Exit Fortinbras

The three remaining Danes look at each other.

HAMLET: I’ve got no one to haunt.

GERTRUDE: Me neither.

CLAUDIUS: Where’s my brother? Why isn’t he here?

HAMLET: He was haunting me.

CLAUDIUS: I guess he didn’t like you any better than the rest of us.

HAMLET: I don’t know why he didn’t haunt you directly.

CLAUDIUS: I wouldn’t have taken him seriously.

HAMLET: So he decided to haunt you through me.

CLAUDIUS: Probably more like kill me through you.

HAMLET: That’s accurate.

GERTRUDE: That conniving bastard! Using his own son to do his murdering.

CLAUDIUS: It’s standard practice.

GERTRUDE: Is it? It’s a good thing he’s not here and already dead or I would certainly kill him himself.

CLAUDIUS: I don’t blame him. It’s what I would have done if I had a son.

GERTRUDE: Thank God you didn’t have a son.

HAMLET: Though if you did, he’d be a perfect person to haunt. I’d be there already.

GERTRUDE: I wouldn’t stop you.

CLAUDIUS: I wouldn’t either. Good thing he doesn’t exisit or he’d be overwhelmed with ghosts.

HAMLET: I can’t believe you’d haunt your own son.

CLAUDIUS: Can you not? Your father haunted you.

HAMLET: True.

CLAUDIUS: Didn’t haunt me.

GERTRUDE: Nor me. And I was there with you one time when he haunted you, right?

HAMLET: Yep. He was right there. I don’t know why or how he didn’t reveal himself to you. He started off just haunting the ramparts, freaking out the Watch.

GERTRUDE: He appeared to the Watch and not to me?

HAMLET: I don’t understand it either.

CLAUDIUS: Is there really no one to haunt?

HAMLET: I guess we could haunt Osric, too.

GERTRUDE: No, no, leave him to Fortinbras. He didn’t do anything to us.

HAMLET: Did he not?

GERTRUDE: Not that I know of. Claudius? Anything to confess?

CLAUDIUS: No. He’s not a reliable accomplice. I tell you what, though, maybe I will go haunt some of my noble friends. I mean. They did NOT show up for me the way I thought they would. After all I did for them! Yeah, they could use a good little haunting I should say. Noble friends – not so noble now are they? Oh I will haunt them and haunt them.

Exit Claudius

GERTRUDE: That murderer didn’t even say goodbye. Killed my husband. Married me, killed me, killed my son and couldn’t even bother to say “I’m sorry” or say goodbye. What a dirtbag.

HAMLET: Good riddance.

GERTRUDE: Right. Yes. Good riddance! I really know how to pick them, huh? I mean, you think, “Oh, he’s a king. He’ll make you a queen, it’ll all be worth it.” But of course this is how it ends. Of course. I should have married my first boyfriend, Lars. Oh you would have liked Lars, my boy. You would have like him. What a sweet man he was. And so far away from king. I wonder if he’s still alive. I could haunt him.

HAMLET: Aren’t you supposed to haunt the people who did you wrong?

GERTRUDE: Says who?

HAMLET: I don’t know. It just seemed like that was the way.

GERTRUDE: Is there a guidebook you got? Some right way to proceed?

HAMLET: No. Of course not.

GERTRUDE: Also – how do you know Lars didn’t do me wrong?

HAMLET: Just because you spoke of him so fondly, I assumed.

GERTRUDE: Well – he did and he didn’t.

HAMLET: How so?

GERTDUDE: He split up with me right before I married your father and it broke my heart but consolation prize, I got to become Queen and that whole arrangement had been in the works for a while so it’s highly probable that my father ASKED Lars to split up with me to clear the way for the Prince of Denmark, heir to the Danish throne. So – you know, he broke my heart but it was quickly mended and I can only begin to imagine what happened to him. Maybe it wouldn’t be so nice to go haunt him when all he did was open the door for this royal life for me – but now I’m curious. I’m very curious. I don’t have to haunt him, per se. I can just go see. But I don’t want to leave you, my boy.

HAMLET: No, no, go.

GERTRUDE: Don’t you have someone you want to see?

HAMLET: Not off hand. I’ll have to think about it. Maybe something will come to me if I get a minute.

GERTRUDE: You always did appreciate time alone.

HAMLET: It helps me think.

GERTRUDE: Of course. So I should go.

HAMLET: Yes, go, Mother. Go see what happened to Lars.

GERTRUDE: I hate to leave you.

HAMLET: Go.

GERTRUDE: I’m sorry you died, my boy.

HAMLET: Me, too. For both of us.

GERTRUDE: Farewell Sweet Prince.

HAMLET: Farewell Good Queen.

Exit Gertrude

HAMLET: Now I am alone. Finally. Finally. Finale. Finally. I suppose this undiscovered country is now discovered, by a great many of us. What the bounds of it are, are still unknown. This after after is not what I imagined. I suppose all afters are a mystery until you are in them. After this after what will that after be? Or maybe now there is no after, just the present, just the moment. What will this moment be? (He waits) And the next (He waits) And the next (He waits)

Black Out

End of Play

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.