24 January 2011

Hamlet - a Lebanese version

This version of the play is loosely based on the timeless creation of the Bard. Only one or two short excerpts are posted here.

Dramatis Personae (partial list)

Hamlet (Saad Hariri): a strapping lad of about forty, the second son of Rafic Hariri (see below), the former Lebanese Prime Minister who was assassinated in 2005. Has more money than Lebanon (see below) does, solid US education, good career potential. Decided (or, rather, was forced) to go into politics after his father's demise, but from time to time wonders what the heck he is doing.

Ghost of Hamlet's Father (Rafik Hariri). A tycoon who got seduced by wily Saudis into accepting the post of Lebanese Prime Minister. Which post comes with a few explosive issues. One of these issues , i.e. Hassan Nasrallah (see below) heeded the voice of his Iranian handlers and produced a bang equivalent to 1,000 kg of TNT. Accidentally, Rafik Hariri happened to be in the epicenter of the bang and thus expired.
While alive, Mr Hariri was rather corpulent and feisty, but now, as a Ghost, became an ascetic moralist who cares only for revenge.

Claudius (Hassan Nasrallah). Sometimes calls self Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, without really being a Sheik. Ever scheming fatso with grand designs regarding Lebanon (see below). Has several influential friends abroad who will gladly add Lebanon to their list of satellites and pay him generously for services rendered.

Getrude (Lebanon). Doesn't really have a speaking role, but is desired by all. Fairly poor for her age, but still attractive and (especially) temperamental.

Scene xxx Location: Elsinore (Beirut), the Hariri's family palace.

Enter Ghost (nervous) and Hamlet (slightly tipsy after a sumptuous dinner)

Hamlet. Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak! I'll go no further.
Ghost [gesticulating excitedly and pointing to his ear]
Hamlet. Your ear, poor ghost?
             What happened to your ear?
             Did some incestuous adulterate beast
             Put something foul in your royal ear?
             Speak up, my ghost
             The northern gale is strong like devil's breath
             I cannot give your words attention they deserve.
Ghost [Gesticulating more wildly, showing pulling motions starting with his ear]
Hamlet. Oh, you mean my iPod earbuds... I see [removes one]
Ghost. ... you spoiled ungrateful brat of a son
           I wonder how your undeveloped brain
           Stands up to unrelenting sound pressure
           It makes me doubt whether it is you
           Who will revenge my foul and most unnatural murther.
Hamlet: Daddy, you said "murther"
Ghost: Yes, and I mean "murther". A most foul one, I have to say. What should I say, for crying out loud?
Hamlet: But Dad, what is this "murther" thing you keep insisting on?
Ghost [to himself]: Gosh, I forgot - it is Lebanon, 2011. Surely this dumbo of my son doesn't understand the language of the Bard. I have to make allowances for his tender age.
Ghost: Harken, my son, and  the awful truth will sting thy soul...
Hamlet: Harken? Dad, you said "harken"?
Ghost: Oh gosh, just listen for goodness sake
           And stop my words repeating like a minkey...
Hamlet: Minkey? What does "minkey" signify, Daddy?
Ghost [jumping up and down in frustration]: Forget the minkey, you ungrateful son,
          Just close your mouth for a while and listen,
          A tragedy is going to unfold
          That will forever singe your soul's blossoms
          And make revenge your sole aim in life.
Hamlet [to himself]: And this is why I have returned from Dubai? When I could have as well managed the business from there, enjoying myself like a pig in the mud? Or even from London... oh London, London... And here, what do I have here? Shia, Sunni, Christians, Druze all scheming and aiming to kill each other, the heat, the Syrians, the Hezbollah, the Israelis for crying out loud... who needs all this crap? Now this revenge schtick too... no, I definitely should get a ticket and scram!
Ghost [continues his story]: My body safely [so I thought] ensconced
          On softest leather of my limousine
          My guards ahead, behind and on the sides,
          I napped so carefree and unaware
          Of diabolic plan that Claudius nurtured wily,
          That huge explosive cache under the highway
          The finger on the button and the deed...
          And next I knew myself was as a ghost,
          Ceaselessly roaming the castle ramparts,
          I mean the rooms in this accursed palace,
          And plotting my revenge for you to carry out.  
          If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.
          Let not the PM office of this country
          Become a couch for your father's murth... killer.
Hamlet: OK, OK, Dad, I am, like, totally with your wishes now. Just let me organize my thoughts and get the support I need to get rid of this troublesome pest Nasr... Claudius. I promise he will be dealt with, Allah be my witness.

Scene yyy Location: Bunker under Iranian Embassy (Beirut).

Enter Hamlet (nervous) and Claudius (cool as a cucumber, but slightly worse for wear after four years in the dump and poorly ventilated bunker).

Claudius: My nephew dearest, I welcome thee
               To my abode, as humble and besmirched
               As it became with years of my hiding
               From these bloodthirsty enemies of mine,
               The dirty Jooz, but let me first express
               My deepest sorrow with your untimely loss.
               And outrage with Zionist atrocity
               That made you orphan in your tender years.
               I promise you that mighty Hezbollah
               Will never rest till enemy is punished
               For cowardly murth... murder of your dad.
Hamlet:   Oh, Zionists again... I know, uncle
               Your treasonous ways and your explosive means
                My father's ghost revealed the whole truth.
               I know whose hand it was that pressed the button
               And who is going to the assassins' Scheol...
               Your treachery, and your satanic ways
               Are not as hidden as your great conceit
               Makes you believe....
Claudius [interrupts]: My poor nephew, how can I believe
               That I indeed am hearing this now
               And this confused jumble you consider
               To be indeed the holy truth.
               It must have been a Jinni, of Satanic brood
               That filled your head with poisonous drivel.
               I also see the sign of mind control
               That Zionists became so expert with.
               My nephew, let us pray
               To merciful and ever-watching Allah
               May he deliver you from your confusion.
[Gets from a closet two prayer rugs and deftly spreads them on the floor. Gets on his knees and pulls Hamlet down to join him. Hamlet submits unwillingly. Both begin praying fervently.]
[Claudius waits to make sure Hamlet is deep in prayer, crawls back slowly, stands up and pulls his right leg back, preparing to deliver a mighty kick to Hamlet's backside. A devilish smile appears on his face...]

Curtain goes down.

Update: In two days after this was posted, reality confirms this (trivial, I agree) prediction:
Hizbullah candidate Mikati to form new Lebanese gov't
And so it goes on in our neck of the woods...


Louise said...

You forgot the descriptors "damned good looking, to boot" and "butt ugly".  Insert where appropriate.

Dick Stanley said...

Hamlet needs to hie back to Dubai while there's still time.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

My problem, Louise, is that male beauty is a closed book to me. Who should I apply the descriptors to?

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Oh yes, and the quicker the healthier.