The Marx Brothers
The Play's The Thing Theater Company, Inc.
A Night In Elsinore

(using Google)

This page was originally created by Frank Bland for his site

In August of 2000, The Play's The Thing Theatre Company and The West 104th Street Community Garden presented Richard Nathan's Shakespeare parody, A Night In Elsinore, with great success here in New York City. I attended the August 20th matinee and took several photos, which are shown below. (I'm sorry I didn't get any photos of the sword fight.)

If you'd like to see a copy of Richard Nathan's wonderful script, visit the Shakespeare Parodies site.

Thanks to Richard Nathan, Henry William Oelkers, Fred Velez, and Tamara S. Partridge for their support in my effort to get this page up. And thanks to everyone involved with this production for providing the best entertainment I've had this summer!

Dramatis Personae

Claudius CLAUDIUS (Gregory Alan)
King of Denmark. He is a slightly overweight man with a beard and a middle-European accent.
Hamlet HAMLET (Michael Peros)
Nephew to the King. He has a caustic wit, and a big, black mustache that looks as if it might have been painted on. He often smokes a cigar.
Polonius POLONIUS (Richard Chang)
Counselor to the King. A foolish old man.
Horatio HORATIO (Benny Benowitz)
Friend to Hamlet. He dresses rather shabbily, and speaks with an unusual Italian accent. He is more an antique Roman than a Dane.
Laertes LAERTES (Raymond T. Book II)
Son to Polonius. An excitable, foolish young man.
Voltimand VOLTIMAND (Michael Dale)
A courtier. Ambassador from Norway.
Rosencrantz ROSENCRANTZ (Alex Harper)
A courtier. A portly fellow with a tiny mustache, who affects polished manners.
Guildenstern GUILDENSTERN (Barry Liebmann)
A courtier. A thin, stupid fellow with an English accent.
Osric OSRIC (Eric J. Vetter)
A courtier.
Bernardo BERNARDO (Michael Dale)
A soldier.
Francisco FRANCISCO (Bobbi Elkort)
A soldier.
First Player FIRST PLAYER (Fred Velez)
A grumpy, bossy man with a Prince- Valiant-type haircut.
Second Player SECOND PLAYER (Eric J. Vetter)
A second banana with frizzy hair.
Third Player THIRD PLAYER (Steve Lippe)
A fat, bald idiot.
Sailor SAILOR (Steve Lippe)
A sailor who brings Hamlet back to Denmark.
Gravedigger GRAVEDIGGER (Fred Velez)
A gravedigger.
Young Fortinbras YOUNG FORTINBRAS (Fred Velez)
Prince of Norway. He is a fast-talking, slick fellow.
A Norwegian Captain A NORWEGIAN CAPTAIN (Michael Dale)
A soldier in Young Fortinbras's army.
Gertrude GERTRUDE (Morna Murphy Martell)
Queen of Denmark, mother to Hamlet. A stately dowager.
Ophelia OPHELIA (Francesca Fortunato)
Daughter to Polonius. Attractive, clever and ambitious.
Ghost of Hamlet's Father THE GHOST (Carl Fortunato)
The ghost of Hamlet's father. A mute, wild-eyed imp..
DIRECTOR -- Henry William Oelkers
STAGE MANAGER -- Tamara S. Partridge

On With The Show!

The ghost appears

Bernardo: There is the apparition!
Horatio: I don't believe it.

Horatio asks the ghost for advice

Francisco: Ask the ghost if we should go to war with young Fortinbras.
Horatio: No. He says Fortinbras is too many. He thinks we should go to war with Thirteen-bras.

Laertes wants to bug out

Claudius: Now, good Laertes, did you have something you wished to ask of me?
Laertes: Yes, sire, your leave and favor to return to France.
Claudius: ...Go, enjoy yourself. And be sure to send some postcards.

Two old friends meet

Hamlet: Horatio -- or do I forget myself!
Horatio: Well, I don't know. Who do you think you are?

The Queen explains herself

Gertrude: Hamlet, I loved your dear departed father. No woman could have loved him more.
Hamlet: Of course not! No other dame had a chance. Not with you watching him like a hawk.

Horatio give Polonius financial advice

Horatio: Now your son, he's a lender, and what are we gonna do? Hey, I got a great idea! You loan me ten gold kroner, and then I'll pay Laertes back, and then he won't be a lender anymore.
Polonius: But if I lend you the money, then I'll be a lender and you'll still be a borrower.
Horatio: Okay, I got a better idea. You don't be a lender, I don't be a borrower. You just give me the money. How's that?

Hamlet's dear dead dad wants revenge

Hamlet: Okay! Don't worry. I won't hurt mom. Just Claudius.

Claudius enlists the aid of two clucks

Guildenstern: Who's he?
Rosencrantz: That's the king!
Guildenstern: I thought you said the king was dead.
Rosencrantz: The old king is dead. This is the new king.
Guildenstern: He doesn't look very new to me.

The entertainers have arrived

Hamlet: Your manager here said you were the finest players in the land!
Third Player: We are! We get fined in every town we play in!

The players perform Simple Simon

Second Player: Said the Pie Man to Simple Simon...
First Player: Show me first your penny.
Second Player: Said Simple Simon to the Pie Man...
Third Player: In truth, I haven't any.
First Player: Oh, a deadbeat!

Ophelia makes a play for Hamlet

Ophelia: It's been many days since I've seen your honor.
Hamlet: Let's keep my honor out of this.

Hamlet hatches a scheme with the players

Third Player: I think it's time I went!

Hamlet has a semi-private meeting with his mother

Hamlet: What a couple you two make!
Gertrude: What couple? (She can't see the ghost.) There's only one of me.
Hamlet: Yeah, but you're shaped like a pear.

The captain discusses young Fortinbras' strategy with Hamlet

Captain: The King of Norway would not permit young Fortinbras to attack Denmark, so we are attacking Poland instead.
Hamlet: What for?
Captain: Young Fortinbras hopes to gain a little patch of ground, that has no worth for farming or any other value, save as an excuse for the shedding of blood.
Hamlet: I see.

Ophelia fakes insanity

Ophelia: Tell me, do you think it's all right for a girl to marry a guy who's killed her father, or is that considered a breach of social etiquette? The guy who did it is a real son of a breach. I don't think my brother is going to like this. Maybe you should do something to make it up to him, like name him as your heir. Heir today, and gone tomorrow!

A sailor reads Horatio a letter from Hamlet

Horatio: What does it say?
Sailor: Can't you read? I thought you were a great scholar at Wittenberg.
Horatio: Sure, at Wittenberg, but this is Denmark!

A gravedigger...digs

Gravedigger: This graveyard's getting crowded. This skull has been in the earth a long time.

Hamlet meets another old friend

Hamlet: Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio. A funny little man with a derby hat and a bamboo cane. He wore a jacket that was too small and shoes that were too large. He used to walk a splayfooted walk, all the while twirling his cane. And he had a tiny little mustache which he used to twitch back and forth when he was upset. He was a funny little man. And the last time I saw him, he was a pink-faced, white-haired old man who kept patting my hand and saying, "Keep warm. Keep warm." It doesn't seem fair that the comedians should have to die, just like everyone else.

Fortinbras gives his monologue

Fortinbras: Hi, this is Young "Happy To Be Back In Denmark" Fortinbras, and I gotta tell you, I thought I'd seen bloodshed in Poland, but this is ridiculous. I was going to give the Danish court a twenty-one gun salute, but it looks like someone beat me to it. You know, a funny thing happened on the way to the castle. I ran into the English Ambassador, and he told me that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. I said, "Who isn't?" But I love Elsinore, it's gotta be the only place on Earth where they built a moat to protect the people outside from the violence inside the castle. But seriously, folks, such a sight as this becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. Go bid the soldiers shoot.

The curtain calls

The cast bids us a fond farewell.

The director, the author, the star

From L-R: The director and musical accompanist (Henry William Oelkers), the author (Richard Nathan), and the star (Michael Peros) regarding who knows what after the August 19th performance. (Thanks to Fred Velez for supplying this photo.)

This site uses material originally created by Frank Bland for his website Why A Duck?. Frank did kindly give me permission to use this material.

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