The Hamlet Game Show This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Setting: The game show takes placeon a level platform with one adjoining room (accessible toviewers for commercials). Three contestants stand behindilluminated desks. The host stands at a podium with amicrophone.

Fortinbras: (voice-over) From SonyPictures Studio, this is Jeopardy! Entering the studio aretoday's contestants. We have the 38-year-old Queen of Denmark,Gertrude; some old guy from the castle; and our returningchampion, Hamlet, whose total winnings consist of one pearlnecklace and five death threats. Now, here's the host ofJeopardy, Alex Trebec!

Alex: Thank you, Fortinbras.Nice to see you again, Hamlet, Polonius and Gertrude. Thecategories are: Poison, Hamlet's Women, Tiny Pieces of Landthat No One Cares About, Lame Careers, Etiquette and lastly,Potpourri. Hamlet, you're our returning champion, start usoff.

Hamlet: Thanks, Alex. I'll pick Hamlet's Women for$200.

Alex: Right-o. This fair daughter of Polonius isHamlet's woman.

(Hamlet buzzes in) Hamlet: Why, who isthe beautified Ophelia?

Alex: That'sright!

Polonius: (sotto voice)

Beautified, whata vile phrase.

Alex: Hamlet, pick again.

Hamlet:I'll take Etiquette for $100, please.

Alex: Dead bodiesare served at this meal, usually garnished with worms andbeggars.

(buzzing in) Polonius: What issupper?

Alex:That's correct, old man, and now we musttake a commercial break.

Rosencrantz and Guildensternpromote signet rings - to help you out in stickysituations.

Alex: Let's meet our contestants.Gertrude, it says here (he looks at his notecards) that youhad an affair with your son's uncle, then killed your husbandand recently married your husband's brother.

Gertrude:That's right, Alex. I knocked off my first husband. He wasn'tdoing much, just lying around the castle. So I got a secondone. (She waves to Claudius in the audience.)

Alex: Okay, um ... Polonius, it seems you're a distinquishedresident of Denmark and have two devotedchildren.

Polonius: I do?

Alex: Hamlet, help meout here. Terribly sorry to hear about your father's death,but at least you have the sensitivity of your mother andstep-father to contend with. (Hamlet points to his mother whois blowing kisses to Claudius in the audience.) Oh, right,anyway, let's begin round two. Hamlet, you led the last round.Why don't you continue?

Hamlet: I'll take Lame Careersfor $400, please.

Alex: Polonius serves this role inthe castle.

(buzzing in) Hamlet: He's a fishmonger.

Alex: You must answer in the form of aquestion.

(buzzing in) Gertrude: Could you repeat thequestion?

Polonius: I, my lord, was accounted a greatactor.

Alex: What did you enact?

Polonius: I didenact Julius Caesar. I was killed in the capital; Brutuskilled me.

Hamlet: It was a brute part of him to killso capital a calf there.

Alex:Well, since no oneanswered the question correctly, no points will be added thisround.

Polonius:Wait, what am I then?

(buzzingin)Hamlet: Methinks, like a weasel.

(buzzing in)Gertrude: Or like a whale.

Alex: I will say so. By themass, it's like a camel indeed.

Polonius: Very muchlike a whale then.

Alex: Onto our next commercialbreak.

(Blackout to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Thetwo men sit solemnly at desks reading fromnotecards.)

Rosencrantz: Hello, we're here to representthe letter "a." Did you ever wonder what you woulddo without the letter "a"?

Guildenstern: Youcouldn't have animal crackers or airplanes. (Fortinbras leapsacross the platform shouting A!)

Rosencrantz: I wouldbe Rosencr_ntz, Alex would be _lex, Guildenstern would stillbe Guildenstern, but Hamlet would only beH_mlet.

Guildenstern: So you see, without the letter"a," we mightn't be here _t _ll. (Again Fortinbrasbounces across the stage shouting A!)

Alex: Gertrude,since you are in third place, you can pick thecategory.

Gertrude : Tiny Pieces of Land that No OneCares About for $300, please.

Alex: This price was paidfor a patch of useless land currently belonging toDenmark.

(buzzing in) Polonious: What issupper?

Alex: That was the last question,Polonius.

(buzzing in) Hamlet: What is five ducats?

Alex: Correct. That was an odd predicament yourcountry settled, Hamlet.

Hamlet: It was a trifle issuethat not even 2,000 dead and 20,000 ducats would have settledwithout the deficiencies held over the leaders of Norway. It'slike an abscess that bursts inside a man. It's a full matter -in this case, wealth and soldiers. If not for the swift defeatof Norway's army, it might never havegarrisoned.

Fortinbras: (interrupting from hisannouncer's booth) Hey, what do you mean, deficiencies? Iasked my troops to advance at a slow pace.

Alex:Um ...onto our next commercial break.

(Gargle & Die,poison in one. Blackout to Rosencrantz andGuildenstern.)

Rosencrantz: Is your mouthwash leavingyour enemies standing?

Guildenstern: Is your currentbrand of poison emitting odors from corpses?

Rosencrantz: If so, you should try Gargle & Die -it's the only mouthwash and poison in one. Here,Guild-enstern, show them how it works. (Guildenstern takes thebottle and swallows a mouthful.) First, gargle (Guild garglesobnoxiously) then die (Guild drops to the floor convulsingpathetically). Gargle & Die, brought to you by the makersof Drano. May be harmful if swallowed. Consult yourpsychiatrist or hit man before using. Found in a store nearyou. (Rosencrantz takes a swig from the opened bottle andbegins to quiver, much like Guildenstern.)

They returnfrom commercial break. (Fortinbras and Hamlet argue, pushingeach other violently.)

Alex: (ordering) Cut tocommercial!

(The cameramen look at each otherconfused. Blackout to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The twomen lie on the floor immobile. Guild foams at the mouth.Cameras turn back on the main set.)

Alex:And ontofinal Jeopardy. (Fortinbras seems to have cooled off andreturns to his booth.) The final category: Proverbs.Contestants, note your wagers. You will have 30 seconds tomark your answers. The final answer is: It is often called athief because it steals half one's life. Good luck. (Themesong plays as contestants write their answers. Gertrude seemsto be missing. The song ends.) Gertrude, um ... well, Gertrudewas in last place. Did she even get to the question? (Gertrudecrawls out from under her desk, hastily buttoning her corset.)Um ... never mind. (She ducks back underneath) Polonius, youwere in second place. Your answer was (the screen lights up)'What is supper?' Meals, good guess, and your wager was(screen reveals amount) your daughter, Ophelia. Hamlet, youranswer, please (screen lights up) 'Who is mine UncleClaudius?' Sorry, Hamlet, the answer is sleep. That's going tocost you (screen reveals amount) Yorik'sskull.

(Blackout. The station is experiencing atechnical difficulty. Please stay tuned until furthernotice.

Connection is regained. Everyone on the set isdead, Fortinbras stands in the middle ofcorpses.)

Fortinbras: For me, with sorrow I embrace myfortune. I have some rights of memory in this kingdom, whichnow to claim my vantage doth invite me. Fire the cannons! (Hepicks up Alex's microphone, dancing around the booth.) This isJeopardy!




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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