Tag Archives: Hamlet

1714. The incomprehensibility of tragedy

When Goldilocks broke into the Three Bears’ House she had to prise open a window. It came as no surprise to her that after all these years they had at last begun to lock their front door.

The first thing she did upon entering was to eat the porridge. As always one was too hot, one too cold, and one just right. Then there were the chairs to sit upon, and the beds to try. All this was done and she fell asleep in the third bed as was usually the case.

When the Three Bears came home they went through the customary rigmarole of who’s been this? and who’s been that? And there she was lying in Baby Bear’s bed!

She was dead.

“The poison in the porridge work!” cried Baby Bear, jumping up and down excitedly. “Hurrah! Hurrah!”

So enamoured were they with the success of their poisonous porridge that they let it loose on any character in any book they could lay their hands on. They became crazed with success. They became serial killers. First it was Humpty-Dumpty; then Little Red Riding Hood. Then it was Jack and Jill, followed by Snow White, and Mary Mary Quite Contrary. Before you knew it, it was Heathcliff and Cathy Earnshaw, then Lorna Doone, and Jane Eyre. Hamlet was on the list, as was King Lear. And finally came Winnie the Pooh.

Oh what a mistake that was!

What happened to Baby Bear? What happened to Baby Bear? They had murdered one of their own. It was an incomprehensible tragedy.

866. Shakespeare’s bad hair day

866hamlet

William Shakespeare was in a bad mood. He’d finished writing a play called Hamlet. He’d spent ages copying out the parts. You try doing that with a feather. The entire cast can’t rehearse using just the one script.

Done! All done! And then he gets a message from the director. Some of the bits need to be workshopped.

Shakespeare detested workshopping. It was like having his play redesigned by a committee. Things always boiled down to a compromise. What happened to artistic integrity? And it meant, when all was workshopped and done, he’d have to write out the revised parts all over again.

Shakespeare went along to the theatre. Zounds! Robert Langrope was there. He always had lots to say. He put his mouth into drone and would prate one boring suggested revision after another. Of course, the play’s director had a thing for young Robert. He couldn’t help but think that everything Robert said was wonderful.

“This line here,” said Robert to Shakespeare. “To live or not to live, that is the problem. Would it not be better to say, To be or not to be, that is the question?”

Quite frankly, Shakespeare had a gutsful. He’d been there all afternoon.

“As you will,” said Shakespeare. “Do what you damn well like.” He stormed out.

To listen to the story being read click HERE!