DENMARK: Variations 24, 27, 32
(Abandoned; Doppelganger; Madness, II)
Version of Hamlet performed in a large and long-abandoned warehouse. Hamlet wanders alone, attempting to find the actor who plays Horatio so that he may speak his first lines. It is possible the other characters are in the warehouse as well, searching, like Hamlet, for the actors with whom they may begin their scene. It is equally possible that no one else is in the warehouse. Hamlet’s footsteps resound throughout the empty rooms.
Version of Hamlet in which Laertes and Hamlet are each the double of the other, played by nearly identical actors, wearing nearly identical costumes. The actors themselves seem unsure who is supposed to be whom: they mix up each other’s lines, each reaches for the other’s sword, a kiss on Ophelia’s check is equally charged with distain and incest. Dying, each stabbed by the other, it is impossible to say whether Hamlet has murdered Laertes or Laertes Hamlet.
Alternatively, version in which Ophelia and Hamlet are nearly indistinguishable. We begin to suspect after a time that it is Hamlet, too sensitive to carry out the ghost’s commands, who lies drowned by suicide in act three, while Ophelia in her mourning clothes continues the work of revenge.
Version of Hamlet as monologue, in which Hamlet speaks the lines of each of the other characters, as if he already knows what they are going to say and is mocking them for it. After several minutes it becomes clear that the others onstage are not characters, but onlookers, concerned.
Copyright © 2020 by James Tadd Adcox
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
James Tadd Adcox is the author of a novel, Does Not Love, and a novella, Repetition, and a founding editor at the literary magazine Always Crashing. Pieces from the DENMARK series have appeared in Ligeia and Afternoon Visitor, and are forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review and Split Lip Magazine.
Afternoon Visitor was founded in the spring of 2020 in Iowa City. We are an online quarterly publication of poetry, hybrid text, visual poetry, and visual art. We want work that investigates and divines, that searches out and wants. We’re looking for accidental visitors, harbingers, and spectres.
We’re particularly interested in giving space to trans + queer writers in every issue and presenting work from established and emerging writers. We welcome experimental work, long form poetry, and sequences.
We nominate writers for Best of the Net.