and Hall and Oates.
BY JOHN PECK
[Originally published May 14, 2013.]
ACT II, SCENE II
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, HALL, OATES, and Attendants.
Welcome, gentlemen; our urgent need did provoke
Our hasty sending.
Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.
But we four obey,
And here give up ourselves to be commanded.
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
That will be all.
Exeunt CLAUDIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and Attendants.
(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.
I can’t go for that.
No can do.
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.
My excellent good friends! How do ye four?
As the indifferent children of the earth.
Happy, in that we are not over-happy;
On fortune’s cap we are not the very button.
Mmmm, yeah. Mmmm, yeah, hey.
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.
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.
Now, make haste to the king’s chamber,
To his chamber, go!
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN and HALL.
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!
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
I fall a-cursing, like a very drab, a scullion!
A scullion, woo, scullion, whoa-oh.
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—
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.
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.
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.
Go, bid the players make ready.
ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN
We will, my lord.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Enter OPHELIA.
Whoa-oh, here she comes.
Watch out boy, she’ll chew you up.
Whoa-oh, here she comes.
She’s a maneater.
Let the show begin!
Enter a dozen SAXOPHONISTS.
Gods, no! Give me some light: away!
ACT IV, SCENE VII
HALL and OATES stand graveside. Enter LAERTES.
What news? Hast seen Ophelia this day?
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.
Come, what news, knave? Out with it!
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.
Come, you devils! Out, out with it!
Oh, I, oh, I,
I’d better learn how to face it.
Oh, I, oh, I,
I pay the devil to replace her.
Enter SAXOPHONIST, playing.
HALL, OATES and SAXOPHONIST continue thusly for sixteen minutes; LAERTES waits awkwardly.
ACT V, SCENE II
Enter FORTINBRAS, HORATIO, ENGLISH AMBASSADORS, and others.
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?
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?
Not from his mouth,
Had it the ability of life to thank you:
He never gave commandment for their death.
The saxophonists, too, are rightly hanged.
Rejoice! Prepare the table for feasting!
A heavy blues-soul march. Exeunt, bearing the dead bodies.
Available in print with
The Best of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
SUGGESTED READSIf Henny Youngman Had Played Hamlet
by Michael Fowler (7/30/2004)
List: Titles of Various Reviews of Hamlet
by Jeff Sims (2/11/2003)
Selections From the Cosby Codex: Selection 2: Cliff Huxtable and His Problems, or The Superb Otherness of Cliff Huxtable
by James Fleming (10/27/2010)
RECENTLYOur Fledgling Theatre Company’s Only Goal Is to Constantly Betray Our Audience’s Trust
by Bryan Duff (5/3/2016)
Listicles For People Exactly Like You: 9 Ways Your College Roommate Alexandra Terrifies You
by Rufi Thorpe (5/3/2016)
Teddy Wayne’s Unpopular Proverbs: Familiarity
by Teddy Wayne (5/3/2016)
POPULARList: Titles of Bach Chorales, as Translated By My Niece After One Semester of German
by Nolan Bonvouloir (4/15/2016)
How to Negotiate a Raise (If You’re a Woman)
by Maura Quint (4/15/2016)
Here Are the Times I Am Typically Free to Meet
by Joe Saunders (4/18/2016)