The Scots versus the Danes in the year 1040 (or thereabouts!)
Part 1 of the MacHamlet trilogy

To order scripts ISBN 978-1-873855-59-1Cast ListScenesExtractProduction photos

Note that The Trilogy is now available as a single publication ISBN 978-1-873855-72-0


See also Bard Again! and MacHamlet goes West.

I had always seen the ending of Hamlet as edging towards pantomime ("Mind that arras – no, no – behind you!") and the Scottish Play has its moments of comic possibility – so why not combine the two?

It's all the fault of the Witches of course. They have seen into the future and found football, and now they're hooked on the idea of holding a match in their times – an international, between the Scots and the Danes. Step up, Macbeth and Hamlet, with your teams!

Oh, and historically Lady Godiva was contemporaneous with Macbeth – so prepare for the full Coventry!!

Running time approx 2 hours including interval

Principals: 16 male & 7 female suggested, but treat it as a pantomime – genders can be swapped and some parts doubled.

Cast List . . .

The Scottish Team:

Mac Macbeth, thane of Mylife, opportunist goal-seeker
Beth Macbeth
his wife & team director
Witch One
organiser of Scottish cheerleaders
Witch Two
a cheery cheerleader
Witch Three
a dour cheerleader
Duncan King
team captain
Banquo the Ghost
a phantom winger
Birnam Wood
from where we get defence
Glen & Morangie
supporters of the Scottish distilleries
Will McGonagall
a barred bard

The Danish Team:

Hamlet formerly known as Prince, dead ball specialist
Hamlet's mother, now married to Claudius
disputed team captain
a solid goalkeeper
good with the head
team masseuse
Carl & Berg
probably the best lager louts in the world
Hans Christian Andersen
a seller of tales

Lady Godiva the referee from Coventry
Skye Blue
a media correspondent

List of Scenes . . .

Act I

Scene 1 – The Witches convene
Scene 2 – Hamlet meets Beth

Scene 3 – In a Scottish pub
Scene 4 – Bard-off #1
Scene 5 – Witches' brew
Scene 6 – On the field, teams in training
Scene 7 – Supporters' views
Scene 8 – In the Gym

**** INTERVAL ****

Act II

Scene 1 – Polonius explains the situation
Scene 2 – Still in the pub
Scene 3 – Bard-off #2
Scene 4 – Pre-match build-up
Scene 5 – The Match
Scene 6 – Reviewing the consequences
Scene 7 – Back in the pub

Extract – The first two scenes

Act I Scene 1 – The Witches convene

(The three witches declaim from different points in the auditorium)

Witch 1 Thrice the brindled cat hath mew'd.
Witch 2 Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.
Witch 3 Harpier cries, "'Tis time, 'tis time."
Witch 1 'Tis time to start our pantomime!
Witch 2 Our pantomime of legends mixed.
Witch 3 Of vengeance vile and matches fixed.

(They begin to move towards the front of stage)

Witch 1 Of 2-3-5 …
Witch 2 … and 4-4-2
Witch 3 And chanting "Ee-aye-adio"!
Witch 1 We're bringing football to the Scots…
Witch 2 … because we like it lots and lots …
Witch 3 Even though you'll say, I bet …
All    It hasn't been invented yet!
Witch 1 Upon the heath a bothy lit.
Witch 2 A bothy blue, and out of it …

(We hear the whoosh of a Tardis landing)

Witch 3 … there came a man with powers that shocked, a
    man who called himself …
All … the Doctor.
Witch 1 With him we whirled through time and space,
Witch 2 To light upon the strangest place.
Witch 3 A stadium where grown men play,
Witch 1 And now we're hooked – so you may say …

(All sing)
 We're football crazy, we're football mad,
 That football game has taken awa'
 The little bit of sense we had –
 And it would take a dozen servants
 To wash our clothes and scrub,
 Since we became a member of
 That terrible football club.

Witch 1 Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble.
Witch 2 We are going to win the double.
Witch 3 With a team drawn from the lees
   Of William Shakespeare's tragedies.
Witch 1 By the pricking of my thumbs,
   Something wicked this way comes.
   Open, locks,
   Whoever knocks!

Act I Scene 2 – Hamlet meets Beth

(Hamlet enters to 'Air on a G string' and slowly starts to light up a small cigar)

Witch 2 Wicked! It worked. On with the show.
Witch 3 (To audience) See you later. Cheerio!

(The witches exit)
(The stage manager enters quickly and takes the cigar from Hamlet)

Stage Manager Sorry, no smoking. You ought to know that.

(The music stops)

Hamlet You mean because there's a law against it?
Stage Manager No, I mean because tobacco hasn't been discovered yet. It's 1040. Didn't they teach you any history at school? (Exits)
Hamlet No, because schools haven't been invented yet either. Only 1040 eh? (Looks at his watch) Bit early perhaps – but still (takes out a can of Carlsberg and opens it) who cares – never really too early is it?

(Enter Beth)

Beth Wha's tha' you're drinking?
Hamlet Tha' is probably the best lager in the world, madam.
Beth Lager? Call tha' a drink? Gnats could do better. (She gets out a bottle of Scotch) Now this is wha' I call a drink!

(She opens the bottle and wafts it under Hamlet's nose)

   Smell the strength in tha'. None of your quick-brew here.
Hamlet There's nothing quick about brewing the way we do it in Elsinore.
Beth Twenty years old this is, laddie. Twenty. It's probably older than you are, and more mature.
Hamlet I'd rather be blond with a bit of a fizz than stuck in a dour Scottish cellar for twenty years.
Beth There's the trouble wi' you continentals – impulsive – all mouth and trousers. Are you here for the festival?
Hamlet The festival of the Bard, yes.
Beth Yer no' that Romeo chap?
Hamlet Not at all! I am the eponymous Hamlet.
Beth Eponymous? Never heard of him.
Hamlet The great Dane.
Beth Ah, so ye'll be going to Crufts then?
Hamlet You're ignorant – what play do you come from?
Beth The play wi' no name.
Hamlet The play wi' no name? So I'm eponymous and you're anonymous.
Beth Very good! Ye'll be a Bard yerself some day. I mean it's the play that no man dare name.
Hamlet But you're a woman.
Beth Aye. Oh well, I suppose it's all right then – I can tell you – it's Macbeth.

(Blackout and sounds of thunder)

Beth Woops. Perhaps not. It's only a silly superstition really you know. Can we have our lights back again please?

(Lights return)

Beth Thank you kindly. (To Hamlet) I'm Beth, wife of – that person whose name I just said. Now, d'you want to try the whisky or not?
Hamlet If you insist.
Beth If I insist? I offer you a dram of the finest single malt and all you can say is: "If you insist!" Philistine! But as I've just finished the bottle, we'll have to go to the pub for some more.
Hamlet Where's the pub?
Beth Conveniently situated behind these curtains.
Hamlet (as they exit together) Do you think they sell lager?
Beth I'll pretend I didn't hear tha'!

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