Directed by Melissa Haines
Featuring Christian Haines
Actor – Wearing as close to the classic Hamlet get-up as possible, doublet, etc OR in a robe (as
if just about to go on for a performance) with some key elizabethan gear showing i.e.: stockings,
poofy hat, etc.
SM – we only hear their voice offstage until the very end when we briefly see their face, this can
be the director!
Siri – A recorded female voice!
*A note to actor and director
This script contains much room for improv as noted below. It will require an actor willing to play
off audience responses. I have maid several suggestions below and some assumptions as to
what might happen. Fell free to use what works and change what doesn’t. I’ve included many
stage directions as well which are suggested but should be discarded if not useful.
(Actor enters and begins to warmup. Almost immediately we hear from offstage)
SM: Five minutes!
Actor: Thank you five!
(Actor continues to shake out, stretch, warmup voice for a few more seconds, he takes a big
deep breath, sets himself and begins)
Actor (Striking a pose): To Be or Not To Be…. (he tries again) TO BE or NOT to BE…. (he tries
again) to BE or not to BE, that is… no, no that’s not… (he tries again) tobeornot TO BE, THAT is
the QUESTION! Shit…shit (he paces the stage as he tries to get it right) to be or NOT to be…
TO BE… (cuts himself off) How am I supposed to do this? How can I perform one of the most
famous speeches of all time in some new way? …it must have been performed in every
possible way, with every possible emphasis… (he’s getting more frustrated) The most famous
speech, I mean maybe THE MOST famous phrase in the English language, maybe in the
history of communicating… What does this speech even mean? (he pauses for several seconds
as he stares out into the audience) ……. No really, I’m asking does anyone here know what this
speech means? Anybody? (if no immediate response he offers:) Suicide, it’s about suicide right?
Wether he should take his own life or go on living… (again he stares out waiting for a response,
perhaps he gets one) Let’s take a vote, raise your hands for suicide, yea get ‘em up – who thinks
it’s about suicide… ok and who thinks it’s something else…. (he tally’s the votes, perhaps
comments on the outcome) OK… well it’s about… indecision! Hamlet’s inability to choose
between avenging his father’s death, or … wussing out… That sounds smart right? OK, Ok, I’ve
got it…. it’s all a ruse, the whole speech… he’s just faking like he does the rest of the play. He’s
just pretending to feel all these crazy emotions about life and death, blah, blah, blah and says all
this goofy stuff to confuse everyone… to confuse the audience! It’s a trick, the whole thing is a
trick! (he is very excited about his discovery and looks to the audience for agreement) Right?
OK, I give up… why don’t I just look it up? (he takes out his cellphone) Siri, what does To be or
not to be mean? (siri noise boop, boop)
Siri: (In a robotic, kind, but no-nonsense siri voice) Hamlet is trying to work out a fundamental
problem of humanity, an archetypal dilemma that we all must face. He is debating whether or
not he should risk is own eternal happiness to fulfill his promise to his father. Hamlet is trying to
describe the move beyond materiality of the flesh that he is considering taking. It also
demonstrates one of the defining characteristics of Hamlet, his continued introspection and
contemplation of some of life’s most enduring and difficult questions.”
(pause as Actor thinks)!
Actor: That makes sense….. (he thinks for a moment) Now how the fuck do I act that?
Offstage SM: (door opens but we don’t see their face) PLACES!
Actor: (hears the places call and looks towards the door, then sits and looks out into the
audience to ask them a question)
To Act, or not to act… what a shitty question.
Whether to endure the boos and hisses
Of an ungrateful audience, or to
Just say Fuck It, and go home to my bed
to lie – to sleep, and by a sleep to say
we end this six-teen hour day of two
jobs, one tech rehearsal, and zero meals.
To lie, to sleep; to sleep perhaps to dream
about that smokin’ new understudy –
And in that sleep what sexy dreams may come!! (Snaps out of it)
But the show must go on, and I must bear
the quips and mourn the death of an attentive
audience, the pangs of cell phones ringing,
the loud man’s untimely laughing, the yawn’s
all day! The insolence of audience, and the
spurns the patient performer takes are
enough to make me quit this show and act
ne’er again! That Dread of forgetting all
your lines, the undiscovered light cue,
from which no improv can make you return
puzzles the will. Who makes us bear those (his opinion begins to change)
thrills but ourselves rather than others whom we (speech continues to build)
know not of? Thus acting can make … Heroes
of us all! And those crazy few revolutionary
performers are saviors o’ the poor common
man and women as they are roused by the
call of “Action!”! ! ! ! ! ! (Triumphantly)
Actor: (after a brief, content pause) I never knew that speech had a happy ending.
Offstage SM: (sticking their head through the door so we see their face for the 1st time) Rick!
YO RICK , YO-RIC! (Yoric)Your on!
Actor: (Deep breath, triumphantly) Time to speak the speech. (shaking his hands as he exits
with the SM) Trippingly on the tongue, trippingly on the tongue, trippingly on the tongue,
trippingly on the tongue….