Kiana Williams | Staff Writer
Here at The Century Times, we are dedicated to preserving the memory of great literary works of the past. We recognize, however, that in this busy world that we live in, it can be hard to find the time to actually sit down and read them. That is why we have taken it upon ourselves to write classy, sophisticated modern day retellings of the classics for your enjoyment. We begin this thrilling journey with Shakespeare’s most famous play, Hamlet.
(HAMLET stands hunched over a trash can fire, holding his hands over it for warmth. CLAUDIUS and GERTRUDE watch anxiously.)
GERTRUDE: Hamlet. We know that you’re upset about your father’s death, but…
CLAUDIUS: Don’t you think you’re taking this whole “mourning” thing a little too far?
HAMLET: Don’t tell me what to do. (Lights a cigarette in the fire) You’re not even my real dad.
(CLAUDIUS stands in front of HAMLET, nervously wringing his hands together.)
CLAUDIUS: It’s just that I…expected things to be different between us- Better.
HAMLET: (Stands in front of the mirror, combing his goatee to perfection) Yeah, well I, expected my father not to be dead, but we don’t always get what we want, do we old man?
HAMLET: Mom! Claudius. I have a surprise! I invited some actors over to put on a play for us!
CLAUDIUS: An excellent idea, my boy! (Claps Hamlet firmly on the back)
HAMLET: (Pulls Claudius in and makes it a hug) (Whispers) I’m gonna burn everything that you love.
HAMLET: Enjoy the play.
(A GHOST appears)
GHOST: Hamlet! Quickly! You must avenge my death.
HAMLET: (Takes a long gulp from his beer can, drinking until it is empty. A bit of beer spills onto his Ed Hardy shirt.) I don’t have to do anything. You’re not even my real dad.
GHOST: Yes, I am. I am literally your real dad.
Hamlet (Skateboards into the darkness) (Offstage): Whatever.
(GERTRUDE walks down the hall, carrying a pile of laundry. Enter HAMLET, skateboarding.)
HAMLET: SKAAAAAAAAAAN-(HAMLET skates backwards)-AAAAAANK.
(HAMLET sits on his bed, sharpening a knife. Enter, CLAUDIUS, a worried look on his face.)
CLAUDIUS: So, it looks like Polonius has been killed…
HAMLET: (Does not reply. Continues sharpening knife while maintaining aggressive eye-contact with Claudius)
CLAUDIUS: We were all just…wondering if you’ve heard anything about that.
HAMLET: (Continues to stare aggressively at his step-father, his face void of all emotion).
CLAUDIUS:…I’ll tell them you haven’t.
HAMLET: Yeah. You do that.
Ophelia: Oh, Hamlet, my lord-
HAMLET: (Pops a sick ollie out of the window, skating into the night) We were never together.
(HORATIO and HAMLET stand together in an alley, throwing beer cans at stray cats.)
HORATIO: Look, Hamlet. I’m really worried about you. We’re all worried about you. Are you okay?
HAMLET: (Says nothing. Adjusts his snapback.)
HORATIO: I know that your father’s death really hit you hard, but-
HAMLET: Wanna get drunk? I know where Gertrude keeps the good stuff.
LAERTES: Ophelia is dead.
HAMLET: Oh, man.
LAERTES: She drowned herself.
HAMLET: Oh. Well, she was probably going to die tomorrow anyway.
HAMLET: Or maybe the day after. Who knows when any of us are going to die, anyway?
(A GHOST appears.)
GHOST: Have you avenged my death yet?
HAMLET: (Stabs a cigarette into his forearm, putting it out) Nope.
GHOST: Why not??
HAMLET: Because SCREW YOU, that’s why.
I’m going to the graveyard to look at skulls.
(HAMLET is at death’s door, after the plan to expose his father has gone array. LAERTIES stands nearby, and they prepare to make peace.)
LAERITES: Hamlet. I’m sorry.
HAMLET: No, I’m sorry. (Under his breath) Sorry you’re such a douche.
(HAMLET is still dying)
HAMLET: Horatio. Come closer.
HORATIO: (Leans in, desperate to hear his friend’s last words)
HAMLET: SCREW YOU. Ahahahaha