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Title: Hamlet: A School Production

by Jenny from Cheshire | in writing, fiction, playwriting


Claudius
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death
The memory be green.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
Taken to wife.

Gertrude
Good Hamlet, cast thy knighted colour off,
Thou know’st ‘tis common- all that live must die.
Why seem it so particular with thee?

Hamlet
Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not ‘seems’.

Exit all apart from Hamlet. Enter Horatio.

Horatio
It draws near the season
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
Look, my lord, it comes!

Enter ghost.

Hamlet
Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
I’ll call thee Hamlet,
King, Father, Royal Dane.

Ghost
Mark me.

Hamlet
I will.

Ghost
If thou didst ever thy dear father love-

Hamlet
O God!

Ghost
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

Exit all. Enter Polonius, Gertrude and Claudius.

Polonius
Mad let us grant him, then.
I have a daughter,
Who, in her duty and obedience,
Hath given me this.

Gertrude
Came this from Hamlet?

Polonius reading
O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. But that I love thee best, thine ever more, most dear lady, Hamlet.

Claudius
How may we try it further?

Polonius
I’ll loose my daughter to him.
If he love her not,
And fall not from his reason,
Let me be no assistant for a state.

Exit all. Enter Guildenstern, Hamlet and players.

Guildenstern
There are the players.

Hamlet
Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore.

Hamlet takes one player aside.

You could, for a need, study a
speech of some dozen or sixteen lines,
could you not?

First Player
Ay, my lord.

Exit all, apart from Hamlet.

Hamlet
I’ll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks;
If he but blench, I know my course.
The play’s the thing
Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.

Exit Hamlet. Enter Polonius, Claudius and Ophelia

Polonius
Ophelia, walk you here.
We will bestow ourselves.

Exit Claudius and Polonius. Enter Hamlet.

Hamlet
To be, or not to be- that is the question.
Whether ‘tis noble in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?-To die-to sleep-
To sleep! perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come?
Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia!-
Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.

Ophelia
My lord, I have remembrances of yours
That I have longed long to re-deliver.

Hamlet
Ha, ha! Are you honest?

Ophelia
What means your lordship?

Hamlet
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no
discourse to your beauty. I did love you
once.

Ophelia
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

Hamlet
I loved you not. Get thee to a nunnery.
If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry-

Ophelia
O heavenly powers, restore him!

Hamlet
Those that are married already, all but one,
shall live, the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.

Exit Hamlet. Enter Claudius and Polonius.
Ophelia
O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown.

Claudius
Love! His affections do not that way tend.

Polonius
To England send him, or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.

Claudius
It shall be so;
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

(Play within a play)

Lucianus
Thou mixture rank,
On wholesome life usurp immediately.

Hamlet
He poisons him i’ the garden for s’estate.

Ophelia
The king rises.

Polonius
Give o’er the play.

Claudius
Give me some light!-Away!

All
Lights, lights, lights.

Exit all, apart from Hamlet and Horatio.

Hamlet
Didst perceive?

Horatio
Very well, my lord.

Hamlet
Upon the talk of the poisoning.

Horatio
I did very well note him.

Exit Horatio and Hamlet. Enter Claudius.

Claudius
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven.
A brother’s murder!
What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To watch it white as snow?
Bow, stubborn knees;
All may be well.

Enter Hamlet.

Hamlet
Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying;
And so I am revenged.
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
No.
When he is about some act
That has no relish of salvation in ‘t-
Then trip him, that his soul may be as damned and black
As hell.

Exit Hamlet

Claudius
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below;
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.

Exit Claudius. Enter Hamlet and Gertrude.

Hamlet
Now, mother, what’s the matter?

Gertrude
Hamlet, thou has thy father much offended.

Hamlet
Mother, you have my father much offended.

Gertrude
What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?

Polonius
What ho!

Hamlet
How now! A rat?

Polonius
I am slain!

Hamlet
Is it the king?
A bloody deed!- Almost as bad, good mother,
As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

Gertrude
What have I done?

Hamlet
Look here,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
This was your husband.- Look you know, what follows:
Here is your husband,
Blasting his wholesome brother.

Gertrude
These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet!

Enter Ghost.

Hamlet
Do you not come your tardy son to chide?
O say!

Ghost
Do not forget: this visitation
Is but to wet thy almost blunted purpose.

Exit Ghost.

Gertrude
To whom do you speak this?

Hamlet
Do you see nothing there?

Gertrude
Nothing at all, yet all that is I see.

Exit Gertrude. Enter Claudius.

Claudius
Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety-
everything is bent
For England.

Hamlet
For England!

Exit Hamlet. Enter Laertes.

Laertes
Where is this king?

Claudius
What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?

Laertes
Where is my father?

Claudius
Dead.

Laertes
How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with.
I’ll be revenged most thoroughly for my father.

Claudius
You speak like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father’s death.

Enter Ophelia.

Laertes
O heat, dry up my brains!

Ophelia
They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, he nonny;
And in his grave rained many a tear-
You must sing.

Laertes
A document in madness; thoughts and remembrance fitted.

Exit Ophelia.

Claudius
We shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.

Laertes
My revenge shall come.

Claudius
What would you undertake,
To show yourself your father’s son in deed
More than in words?

Laertes
To cut his throat i’ the’ church.
And for that purpose I’ll anoint my sword.
I’ll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.

Enter Gertrude.

Claudius
How now, sweet queen!

Gertrude
Your sister’s drowned Laertes.

Exit all. Enter Hamlet, Gravedigger and Horatio.

Gravedigger
Here’s a skull now hath lain
you i’ th’ earth three and twenty years.

Hamlet
Whose was it?

Gravedigger
Was Yorick’s skull, the king’s jester.

Hamlet
Let me see.- Alas, poor Yorick!-I knew him,
Hoartio. A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.

Enter Laertes, Gertrude, Claudius, priest and the dead Ophelia.

Laertes
A minist’ring angel shall my sister be.

Hamlet
What, the fair Ophelia!

Laertes
Now pile your dust upon the quick and the dead.

Hamlet
What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis;
This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.

Laertes
The devil take thy soul!

Exit all, apart from Hamlet and Horatio.

Horatio
If your mind dislike anything, obey it.

Hamlet
Not a whit, we defy augury. There’s a special providence in
the fall of a sparrow.
Since no man has aught of what he
leaves, what is ‘t to leave betimes? Let be.

Enter Claudius, Laertes and Gertrude with other servants.

Claudius
Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

Hamlet
Give me your pardon, sir. I’ve done you wrong;
I am punished with sore distraction.
What I have done,
I here proclaim was madness.

Laertes
I am satisfied in nature.

Hamlet
I embrace it freely,
And will this brother’s wager frankly play.
Give us the foils. –Come on.

Gertrude takes poisoned cup.

Claudius
Gertrude, do not drink.

Gertrude
I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.

Claudius
It is the poisoned cup; it is too late.

Horatio
They bleed on both sides.

Laertes
I am justly killed with mine own treachery.

Hamlet
How does the queen?

Gertrude
The drink, the drink,- o my dear Hamlet-
The drink, the drink!- I am poisoned.

Laertes
Hamlet, thou art slain.
Thy mother’s poisoned.
I can no more-the king, the king’s to blame.

Hamlet
Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion.
Follow my mother.
Had I but time-as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest.
Horatio I am dead.
The potent poison quite o’er-crows my spirit.
The rest is silence.

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First draft of the final scene of my proposed school play. An abridged Hamlet, trying to fit the entire play into a few minutes. Probably won't be any good, but just want it to make sense and not drag on too long. But still needs all the most important parts!

Comments

    • 1. At 12:29pm on 04 Jun 2010, English Host wrote:

      I think you've done a marvellous potted version here, but I'm wondering if you can go even further. By the point we get to this, we will know the characters playing the characters really well. Maybe you could try some directions that imply that more is going on 'behind the scenes' - that this play is about more than just presenting Shakespeare...

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