Sir Nigel Dalrymple’s stage whisper was loud enough for the entire audience to hear. No matter. He’d trod the boards for over half a century and his public was very forgiving of his failing memory.
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio!” came the reply from the prompter in the wings unseen by the audience, followed by “you old cretin” for Sir Nigel’s ears only. Alas, even the words of the Noble Bard himself were sometimes lost in the labyrinth of Sir Nigel’s memory.
Sir Nigel’s Hamlet was legendary. He’d performed it more times than he cared to remember. He gave an internal wry smile at the irony of that phrase. The twenty-something prompter had shown a tad too much impatience and disrespect throughout rehearsals for Sir Nigel’s liking. “Never mind. Onward.” He thought and continued.
“What a piece of work is a man! You moron” Sir Nigel allowed himself a glare in the direction of the lad who simply sneered at him in repost.
“To be or not to be, that is the question. For God’s sake have you even read the play?”
Sir Nigel couldn’t bear any more insolence. His audience could hear every word. He’d make the lad pay for this humiliation.
Sir Nigel looked towards the concealed Prompter and was ready for him.
“Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him Horatio!” The prompter virtually shouted this time. “Oh Jesus, you’ve forgotten the prop. You’re supposed to have his skull”
“Ah, time for improvisation methinks.” Sir Nigel strode to stage left, unsheathed his sword and with one almighty swing removed the Prompter’s head which hurtled into the air above the stage. With considerable élan, Sir Nigel sprung to centre stage, caught the bloody, spinning thing and held it on the palm of his hand. “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him Horatio.” He continued amidst the screaming.
He might be losing his memory, Sir Nigel mused to himself, but he always knew what made good theatre. Bring on the reviews!
Written in response to the prompt “prompt” for Twisted Tales Star Twister 89,