ACT II, SCENE II

Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, HALL, OATES, and Attendants.

KING CLAUDIUS

Welcome, gentlemen; our urgent need did provoke
Our hasty sending.

ROSENCRANTZ

Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.

GUILDENSTERN

But we four obey,
And here give up ourselves to be commanded.

HALL

You’ve got to know
What my head overlooks
The senses will show to my heart;
When it’s watching for lies
You can’t escape my
Private Eyes.

OATES
(silent)

(long pause)

KING CLAUDIUS
(clears throat)

That will be all.

QUEEN GERTRUDE

Ay, amen!

Exeunt CLAUDIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and Attendants.

QUEEN GERTRUDE
(places her hand on HALL’s chest)

Stay, you lion-maned pair, tell me
Of your distant City of Brotherly Love,
That we may, as they say, get to know
The heft and measure of each other’s thoughts.

HALL

I can’t go for that.

OATES

No can do.

HALL

I can’t go for that, can’t go for that, can’t go for that.

Enter SAXOPHONIST; QUEEN GERTRUDE flees.

- - -

ACT II, SCENE III

Enter HAMLET, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, HALL and OATES.

HAMLET

My excellent good friends! How do ye four?

ROSENCRANTZ

As the indifferent children of the earth.

GUILDENSTERN

Happy, in that we are not over-happy;
On fortune’s cap we are not the very button.

HALL

Mmmm, yeah. Mmmm, yeah, hey.

OATES
(silent)

HAMLET

There is a kind of confession in your looks
Which your modesties have not craft enough to colour:
I know the good king and queen have sent for you.

HALL

Don’t you know
That it’s wrong to take
What he’s giving you;
You can get along
If you try to be strong
But you’ll never be strong.

HAMLET
(long pause)

I… sure.
Now, make haste to the king’s chamber,
To his chamber, go!

Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN and HALL.

HAMLET (CONT.)

Stay, dusky Oates, for your silence doth seem
The still surface of the deepest waters, and I lack gall
To make oppression bitter for this tyrant,
This remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
O, vengeance!

OATES

Vengeance, whoa-oh.

HAMLET

Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
I fall a-cursing, like a very drab, a scullion!

OATES

A scullion, woo, scullion, whoa-oh.

HAMLET

Abuse me to damn me, but I’ll have grounds
More relative than this: the play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience—

OATES

Conscience, whoa, conscience, whoa-oh.

OATES vamps for eight more minutes; HAMLET waits awkwardly.

- - -

ACT III, SCENE II

Danish march. A flourish. Enter HAMLET, KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, HALL, OATES, and others.

HAMLET

They are coming to the play; I must be idle:
Get you a place. Where be Ophelia? My own person,
Like the sun, doth daily rise to greet her.

HALL

I wouldn’t if I were you,
I know what she can do,
She’s deadly, man, she could really rip your world apart.
Mind over matter, ooh, the beauty is there,
But a beast is in the heart.

OATES
(silent)

HAMLET
(clears throat)

Go, bid the players make ready.

ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN

We will, my lord.

Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Enter OPHELIA.

OATES

Whoa-oh, here she comes.

HALL

Watch out boy, she’ll chew you up.

OATES

Whoa-oh, here she comes.

HALL

She’s a maneater.

HAMLET

Let the show begin!

Enter a dozen SAXOPHONISTS.

KING CLAUDIUS

Gods, no! Give me some light: away!

Exeunt all.

- - -

ACT IV, SCENE VII

HALL and OATES stand graveside. Enter LAERTES.

LAERTES

What news? Hast seen Ophelia this day?

HALL

Everybody’s high on consolation,
Everybody’s trying to tell me what’s right for me, yeah,
My daddy tried to bore me with a sermon,
But it’s plain to see that they can’t comfort me.

LAERTES

Come, what news, knave? Out with it!

HALL

Sorry, Charlie, for the imposition,
I think I’ve got it, got it, I’ve got the strength to carry on, yeah.
I need a drink and a quick decision,
Now it’s up to me, ooh, what will be.

LAERTES

Come, you devils! Out, out with it!

HALL

She’s gone.

OATES

She’s gone.

HALL

Oh, I, oh, I,
I’d better learn how to face it.
She’s gone.

OATES

She’s gone.

HALL

Oh, I, oh, I,
I pay the devil to replace her.
She’s gone.

Enter SAXOPHONIST, playing.

HALL

She’s gone.

OATES

She’s gone.

HALL, OATES and SAXOPHONIST continue thusly for sixteen minutes; LAERTES waits awkwardly.

- - -

ACT V, SCENE II

Enter FORTINBRAS, HORATIO, ENGLISH AMBASSADORS, and others.

PRINCE FORTINBRAS

This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes at a shot
So bloodily hast struck?

FIRST AMBASSADOR

The sight is dismal;
And our affairs from England come too late:
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
To tell him his commandment is fulfill’d,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Hall and Oates are dead:
Where should we have our thanks?

HORATIO
(distraught)

Not from his mouth,
Had it the ability of life to thank you:
He never gave commandment for their death.

FIRST AMBASSADOR

The saxophonists, too, are rightly hanged.

HORATIO

Rejoice! Prepare the table for feasting!

A heavy blues-soul march. Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies.

CURTAIN.