Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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Short Story
1670 words
SHJ Issue 1
Spring 2010

Hamlet’s Advice to the Players

Gordon Weaver

Look the Folios, because now I’ll tell from what Master W.S. did against my Will after we sold back our share from The Globe and was doing our dare-journey dancing the Morris from London to Norwich, what I already told. This I’m telling because everybody made such a hoo-ha when W.S. starb in 1616, Ben Jonson even wrote a big praise, who, Ben Jonson was back in 1600 in a theaters war, him and Marston against W.S.’s players company at the same time Master W.S. did this I’m telling now against my Will.

I’m telling from Hamlet, the third act and second scene from this tragical play, Prince Hamlet’s advice to his players he hires to catch King Claudius for murdering the old king Hamlet’s father. You can read it in the Folios, what’s it is I’m telling now.

About my Will Kempe Prince Hamlet is talking when he talks to the players about how should a play be acted, this play within the play W.S. wrote, all against my Will, and also in addition W.S. was writing against the children players which I thought was pretty nice players to watch on the stage, and even writing against old Lord Burghley, the character Polonius this was against the old lord starb finally in ’98, who all the Court didn’t like so W.S. wrote against him also so he could maybe curry favors from Court nobles because Southhampton his patron was in the Tower after Essex did his treason.

Look the Folios. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue.

This Prince Hamlet says to his players he hired. But from Will Kempe he means, how my Will said out his lines in a play on a stage, loud so all the groundlings could hear, loud so also the gallery gentles and the ones paid big to sit right on the stage would hear good. When Will Kempe said his lines in a play, he said loud, strong, shouted so even the kurveh whores and wenches selling oranges to groundlings got quiet to listen to hear Will Kempe! If there was cutpurses in the theater, which there always was, pickpockets, they had to get quiet and hear. When Will Kempe said his lines in a play, the theater got quiet because he made it with his loud voice—no trippingly on the tongue he didn’t speak his lines!

When he said a gleek or a salley, groundlings laughed and gave hands, never any from the serpent tongue hissing there wasn’t ever from groundlings. They laughed because they got quiet and heard what vitz he was saying, and this is how a player should say his lines, louder than in life he should, because it isn’t life on the stage, it’s playing life so mensch groundlings should forget the tsoris griefs from real life and be merry if only so long as Will Kempe was saying loud and strong his lines that was always gleeks and sallies!

Look the Folios and see! Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand W.S. has his Prince Hamlet to say to his players. This is also from my Will Kempe he’s talking! Because when Will Kempe was playing a stage, not only the groundlings got to get quiet from his loud voice, also they got to be made so they look up at the stage to see! They got to stop from looking to admire gentles on the stage and in galleries, or looking at comely country wenches come to London for market, and kurveh whores’ painted white faces and dyed hairs and big bosoms showing and open plackets, they got to be made to look and see what’s playing on the stage, nu?

How Will Kempe played a play, he said his lines loud, strong, so he was heard, and moved his arms, his feet, dancing little jigging dance-steps he did, so groundlings heard and saw the both, and this made the gleeks and sallies so funny the groundlings forgot they was only mensch groundlings, they could laugh and be merry to be mensch!

Look the Folios, see what W.S. wrote from groundlings who paid a penny to come in the theater when the trumpets blew and the flag was up to show a play was, for which, a penny, they could instead buy a quart of strong beer to drink and forget they was mensch groundlings. But paid their penny to see and hear Will Kempe speak out strong his gleeks and sallies, and move his whole self, dance little jig-steps made them merry. From groundlings W.S. makes his Prince Hamlet say they was capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise. This I’m certain because I knew him so good he also meant for my Will, who played like he did to make groundlings merry, which is also saying my Will loved them, even if they was dirty and dishonest and mostly indecent, which is just like he was himself, and for this they loved him back, and for this I loved him and love him even now when I think and remember from Will Kempe.

And I think also this is why Master W.S. wrote this in his tragical play Hamlet, because he didn’t love nothing so good as himself and his Southhampton patron, who got put just then in the Tower for being with Essex, who got his kopf chopped off for treasons, and court nobles and gallants W.S. loved, because they wasn’t groundlings mensch paying only a penny to come to the theater, they couldn’t make him rich and also famous so he didn’t care if they loved or not.

Look the Folios. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing Prince Hamlet says. Which is against my Will Kempe, because overdone is how you got to play in a play if you want mensch to forget they’re mensch, or be even glad they’re mensch could die soon from plague or English sweats or falling sickness or a pox or get killed by brigands in the dark night on London streets or the country road. My Will, he overdone when he played a play so groundlings could be merry for what they saw and heard on the stage because of the way he played!

Worse he wrote, W.S., in the play within a play in his play Hamlet against Will Kempe. Look the Folios.

And let them that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them, for there be of them that will themselves laugh to set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too, though, in the mean time, some necessary question of the play be there to be considered. That’s villainous, and shows a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it.

Against my Will Kempe this W.S. makes this Prince Hamlet to say this!

And wrong, because Will Kempe made the groundlings merry because he was merry! He was a bad shikker, and always looking to do indecent dalliances with women, kurveh whores and country wenches and even court ladies if he could, and he was filled from tsoris griefs from his hard life what ended too soon, in my arms he starb! But he had in him, inside of him, what it is finds merriment gleeks and dancing, so he could get merry when he played and danced on a stage, spoke his lines loud and strong for quiet so he was heard, and danced jig-steps so everyone looked at him, and laughed himself because he was merry when he played, no matter he was just a mensch like the groundlings mensch he played for, which made them laugh and be merry with him there in The Globe!

And what’s such a tsimmes if he thought from some little vitz wasn’t written for him to speak, he thought it as he played on the stage, so he said it also, what’s a tsimmes if this made for even more merriment, that he shouldn’t speak except if it was written for him? What’s a tsimmes if Will Kempe made groundlings merry from sticking out his tongue or crossing his eyes so they should laugh more?

What Master W.S. wanted, he wanted some necessary question in his plays, with hoity-toity poetry only noble gallants and gentles who colored their hairs red and wore fancy points and ladies’ favors pinned on their codpieces and perfumed so they shouldn’t smell bad—what only they could like, not groundlings, poetry speeches and dark things to think on about life and dying from kings and nobles, tragical things he wanted to show his patron Southampton sitting in the Tower for treasons against Queen Bess, tragicals he wanted to show for nobles and court ladies, this he wanted more than making mensch merry, even if tsoris tragicals is what everyone knows already from his life?

Because W.S. wasn’t no mensch himself! And Will Kempe was.

Which is why this W.S. wrote this Prince Hamlet to say all this I told against Will Kempe, my Will. This W.S. who they made such a hoo-ha when he starb easy in a bed in Stratford in his big house he bought with all the monies he got from The Globe. And Will Kempe nobody even knows until I tell how he starb dirty and poor in my arms, me, Pincus Perlmutter, which is why I’m telling this about Hamlet done against him while we was Morris dancing our dare-journey to Norwich, 1600, trying to get famous and also rich if possible. And this is tragical enough I think. Which I would like to find merriment in, which Master W.S. wouldn’t find because he wasn’t no mensch like my Will Kempe was, which is part why I tell it.

You can see if you only look the Folios, where it’s all written which is a proof it’s truth like I tell it.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury