Swans Commentary » swans.com December 29, 2008 - January 1, 2009  



Exclusive Interview With Prince Hamlet


by Charles Marowitz





[For the very first time, Prince Hamlet of Elsinore has agreed to be interviewed by a member of the press, in this instance, the National Enquirer. The replies to all questions put to the Prince are, according to prior agreements, in his very own words with no editorial embellishments added -- although our reporter has attempted to convey the Prince's various moods.]


(Swans - December 29, 2008 - January 1, 2009)  


•   (Interviewer) I'm so sorry I'm an hour late; I'd forgotten they moved the clocks back.


•   (Prince Hamlet) The time is out of joint.


•   Yes, you could put it that way. -- Now, in order to put us on a kind of friendly footing, do you mind if I just call you Ham?


•   Nay, that follows not!!!


•   Sorry, just thought I'd ask. -- Well, now that you've returned from Wittenburg, how do you feel being back in Denmark?


•   Like a mildewed ear blasting his brother.


•   You look a little plumper than when I saw you last, a bit more of a paunch.


•   O that this too too solid flesh would melt...


•   But I must say your posterior is as dainty as ever.


•   There's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.


•   To start with, let me ask you: what do you feel about Claudius governing in your father's stead? -- What sort of guy is King Claudius?


•   My father's brother, but no more like my father than I to Hercules... And as he drains his draughts of rhenish down, the kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out the triumph of his pledge.


•   Well with a coronation that's more or less the custom, isn't it?


•   Ay marry tis', but to my mind more honoured in the breach than in the observance.


•   You don't approve of "carousing" then?


•   This heavy-handed revel East and West makes us traduced and taxed of other nations. They clepe us drunkards and with swinish phrase spoil our addition.


•   Just a bit of harmless partying, it seems to me.


•   It takes from our achievements, though performed at the height, the pith and marrow of our attribute.


•   Can't understand why you're so down on him.


•   (Angrily) He that hath killed my king and whore'd my mother? Popped in between th'election and my hopes? Thrown out his angle for my proper life and with such cozenage? -- Is't not perfect conscience to quit him with this arm? And is't not to be damned to let this canker of our nature come in further evil?!


•   We all have bad days, Prince. What with newspapers shutting down on every side, I myself may be laid off before this interview ever appears. I mean what's worse? Losing a father from an ear-ache (who was pretty much at the end of his tether anyway) or losing one's job and trying to eke out a living on food stamps?


•   Hear you Sir, what is the reason that you use me thus? -- Dost thou come here to whine?


•   No, I'm just pointing out we've all got problems. You lose a father; I lose a job; the other guy loses a leg. It's all "Even Steven." -- But all that aside: Rumor has it that you're rather taken with Polonius's daughter, the fair Ophelia. Is there any truth to that?


•   Man delights not me, nor woman neither -- though by your smiling you seem to say so.


•   She's a sexy little dish. Don't tell me you haven't been tempted?


•   ...To live in the rank sweat of an enseamed bed? Stewed in corruption? Honeying and making love over the nasty sty?!?


•   Oh come now, a little piece of ass now and again...


•   (Boiling over) Frailty, thy name is woman!!!


•   Hold your horses. Don't get so hot under the collar. I was just asking because our readers are interested to know if you.... Let's forget all that stuff. Let's change the subject completely. -- According to a recent item in the Huffington Post referring to your friend Horatio, you were quoted as saying: "Give me that man that is not passion's slave, and I will wear him in my heart's core, ay in my heart of hearts, as I do thee." -- Pretty steamy stuff! -- Is there any truth in the rumor that there is a homosexual relationship between you and your school chum Horatio?


•   (Fuming) Angels and ministers of grace defend us!


•   Is that a Yes or No?


•   Foolish prating knave! Farewell!


•   Sit down, take it easy. Don't get so uppity. I'm just doing my job. Our readers are entitled to know if you swing both ways. Personally I'm rather broadminded on this issue. It seems to me a man can quite easily be drawn to a woman and then a man then to another man and then maybe a sheep or a donkey... Whatever!


•   (Sarcastically) Oh what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!


•   All right, let's forget all the sex stuff if it gets your knickers in a twist and talk about something less personal. There's been a lot of discussion lately about the Iraq War and there are lots of people out there who would like to have your "take." How do you see it?


•   To my shame, I see the imminent death of twenty thousand men that for a fantasy and trick of fame go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot whereon the numbers cannot try the cause, which is not tomb enough and continent to hide the slain.


•   I take it you're against it. What are your feelings then about President Bush himself?


•   Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight, ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all or but a sickly part of one true sense could not so mope. - - - A foolish prating knave - - - a murderer and a villain!!!


•   I take it he's not high on your Hit Parade. Point made. Now this is a rather delicate subject, but here goes anyway. It's been whispered here in Denmark that after the loss of your father you've been regularly consulting with an analyst. Is there any truth in that?


•   (Pause) ...Ay, there's the rub. - - - I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises, and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why it appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilential congregation of vapors. The undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns.


•   Have you tried Prozac? It really works wonders. Xanax and Valium are also quite good -- but you don't want to mix them 'cause that will just blow your mind. If I had your symptoms, I guess I'd see maybe four or five shrinks. I'd be on the couch so long, they'd think I was part of the upholstery. Have you considered electroshock? Sometimes 50 or 100 volts of electricity really does the trick. - - - What is it? - - - You're looking at me funny.


•   Hear you Sir, what is the reason that you use me thus? -- Look you now how unworthy a thing you make of me. You would play upon me; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass. S'blood do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.


•   Just trying to be helpful Ham -- I mean, Prince. Do you mind if I take some photos with your beaver up?


•   Report me and my cause a'right! -- and now, thou wretched rash intruding fool, Farewell!!!


•   But I haven't even touched on the subject of your incest with Gertrude...


•   Dull and muddy-mettled rascal!!! -- I'll go no further!


•   Please Prince, have a heart!


•   The rest is silence!


[ed. For readers who may be unfamiliar with Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, all the answers to the interviewer's questions are direct citations from the famous play.]


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art15/cmarow125.html
Published December 29, 2008