(Hamlet enters with Players.)
I ask only that you speak the speech as I pronounced it,
trippingly on the tongue. Too thick, and it will smother its
taste. And don't attach too much movement to it. Just play
it smooth and still from the onset, and allow the words to
build the passion naturally. It's so offensive to watch an
actor bend to an audience when it's not discerning of subtle
craft. I'd just as soon have them whipped for making farce
out of drama. It out-Herods Herod. It's against the reason
for theatre to begin with. The purpose of the art is to hold
a mirror up to nature--to reveal what's virtuous, expose
what's contemptuous, and display how a life might be lived
more romantically. Please don't spoil it.
Of course not, my lord.
There are players I have seen--and who are praised by others-
who speak nothing like Christians or Pagans, but who strut in
such a way as to cause an audience to wonder whether man is a
I hope we've reformed those imitations, sir.
Oh, please do. And let those that play clowns speak no more
than is set down for them; there are some who laugh
themselves in order to get any fool watching to join them.
It's most pitiful in the comic who resorts to that.
My lord, my I say something?
Of course, you are a friend, an assembler of ideas.
My lord, I am only a humble player.
My lord, you are splendid, so splendid. I remember when you
were very young, and I behold you now. Whatever the word
prince can mean in all the world, you are supreme in frame
and mind. And if you were to spend time with a company of
your own my lord, there is no doubt you would cleave an
audience, shock the ignorant, astound the innocent, drive the
guilty insane, and drown a theatre with tears. If my good
lord should ever desire a company to employ, I pray our
performance sits well with the prince.
Ah, to write and direct characters--perhaps such a life
exists. Perhaps one day. Very good dear player, I thank you
for your kind words, now all of you, please do hurry to
(Players bow and exit. Polonius,
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter.)
How now, my lord? Are the King and Queen almost ready to
They are ready now, my lord.
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