Punch, June 12, 1907


Now that the public taste has set so strongly towards American plays, it is time that somebody began to bring the dramas of William K. Shakespeare, of Stratford-on-Avon City, Warw., up to date. The fashion of Americanising English successes has come to stay. It appears that we are to have an Americanised version of The Orchid shortly. The following is a mere outline, but might be expanded, on reasonable terms, for Histrion Sothern or Histrion Edeson, should either of them commission the adapter.



SceneBattlements at Elsinore. Enter Jas. P. Hamlet, son of the Danish President, and Horatio and Marcellus (of the Elsinore football-team).

Hamlet. Say, fellers, about this yer spirut.  [Enter Ghost.

Ghost. Say, Hamlet.

H. Sure?

G. I’m your pop. Your step-pop murdered me.

H. You don’t say?

G. Sure. Poured poison in my ear. I was easy fruit. Say, Hamlet, it’s up to you.

H. Sure. [Exit Ghost.

SceneThe Palace. Enter Hamlet, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (sophomores of the Elsinore University).

Hamlet. Say, fellers.

R and G. Huh.

H. Guess we’ll have some theatricals here. Go and corrall some all-wool stars.

R. and G. Sure. [Exeunt R. and G.

H. Guess I’ll make step-pop sit up, the pie-faced mut.

SceneThe Palace. The Players begin their play.

The Danish President. Say, Hamlet, got a book of the words with you? What’s this piece about, anyway?

Hamlet. You’ll see quick enough.

The President (as play proceeds). Holy Cat! Some gazebo must have been giving these yaps the wise word. This is all about me and the late President. Yes, there I go pouring poison in his ear.

H. Like the play, pop?

The President. Vurry bright, Hamlet, vurry bright. Beats Vaudeville all the way.

H. (in a sinister manner). Sure.

SceneThe Palace. Enter the President, his wife, Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Laertes, and all the characters who are left alive after preceding Act.

Hamlet. And now for a bully old rough-house. (Stabs President, and poisons President’s wife.) That’s the sort of man I am.

R. and G. (giving College yell). Rah! Rah! Elsinore! Rah! Rah! Rah!

H. (to Laertes). Care to fence with poisoned rapiers?

L. Sure. [They fence.

H. Got you there. [Wounds him.

L. Had you then. (Wounds him.) My notice is up. [Dies.

H. Me for the golden shore. [Dies.

R and G. Rah! Rah! Elsinore! Rah! Rah! Rah!




Unsigned playlet as printed; credited to P. G. Wodehouse in the Index to Vol. 132 of Punch.