To be… or (clears throat) NOT to be… uh… you know, THAT is the question, am I right? (knocks on table) Whether… or not it is… uhhhh… (arches eyebrows, snaps fingers) NOBLER, you see, more noble in the mind, yeah, tosuffertheslingsandarrowsof out…rageous (looks over glasses, three-second pause) fortune. I’m sorry, but could I get a glass of water, please? Throat’s already getting a little dry here. Please and thank you. Uh, where was I?

(He shifts his gaze side to side. His arms are half crossed, one hand pointing out.)

Oh yeah… big, BIG ol’ fortune… uh… OR do we take arms, uh, against a sea of troubles, and, by opposing, (cough) end… them… just cut ’em right off there, you know, nip it in the bud as they say… to DIE, to sleep—

(OPHELIA gets pushed on-stage early to bring him a bottle of Fiji. He takes the water, mouths “THANK YOU,” ogles her, softly growls, then snaps back into character.)

NO MORE, I SAY! … and by a sleep to say we (winks)… end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to… I mean, it’s a consummation (shoots OPHELIA “the look,” softly growls)… devoutly, uh, to be WISHED. To DIE, to SLEEP—I know, I’m kinda repeating myself a little bit there.

To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub (winks at OPHELIA again), for in that sleep of death what dreams may come… when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us (long pause) pause. There’s the respect that makes calamity of so long… life…

(He looks down, fixates on a piece of lint stuck to his shirt. Behind the curtain, the stage manager impatiently coughs.)

Right… for who would bear the whips and scorns of time… certainly not THIS face, am I right? Sorry, I’m getting off-topic. The oppressor is, dare I say, WROOONG, the proud man’s conTUMEly… CONtumely… contumeLY… No, conTUMEly—had it right the first time… the pangs of despised love, the law’s DELAY—can we get a cut here? I just wanna try that conTUMEly line one more time. Oh, this is live theater? Never mind…

(He shrugs his shoulders, smirks, then gets back into character.)

Thepangsofdespisedlovethelawsdelay, (snaps fingers as if he is about to break into a show tune) here we go, the insolence of office, and-AND the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes, when he… this guy… HIMSELF might his quietus make with a bare body—bod—bodkin? (growls at OPHELIA) Who would fardels bear, to grunt and sweat (winks) under a weary life… not ME, of course, I’m full of vitality, right, darlin’?

(OPHELIA pretends to blush, then rolls her eyes as soon he turns away from her.)

But that the dread of something AFTER death, the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of?

(He chuckles for no reason whatsoever.)

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought, and enterprises of great pitch—or was it PITH? Maybe I read the script wrong, I dunno, huh? Well, YOU tell ME, right?!? Oh, right, LIVE THEATER, sorry—PITH and moment, with this regard their currents turn awry, and lose the name of action.

Soft you now, the fine—I mean, fair—Ophelia.

Nymph (growls), in thy orisons, uhh… be all my sins (winks) remembered.