One day you learn the only stars are in the heavens, or we’re all part of an ensemble cast

Please note, 100% of this post is ye olde fiction

Gravediggers "Punch' -1917

Gravediggers “Punch’ -1917

Scene – England 1600

Setting- Globe Theatre, London

How Two Ensemble Players Save Shakespeare’s Ass

Gravedigger actor, Hamlet #1

“Alas, poor Yorick, I know these lines will well displease you, I see master Shakespeare has included your name in the script as that of the skull of the court jester!”

Gravedigger bit actor (Yorick by name), Hamlet #2

“Curse his ink stained fingers!  He knows I am the better play writer, yet taunts me with his success!  Why that man can not even spell his name the same way twice, whereas all the company knows not only are my plays better but my spelling is far more consistent!”

Gravedigger actor, Hamlet #1

“Still your anger!  There are those that say his name will live forever, however he chooses to spell it!  While your plays are indeed good Yorick,  Shakespeare’s plays are what the people come to see.  Be proud to be part of his success, without good actors a play is nothing more than dead words on paper.  We bring his story to life.”

Gravedigger bit actor, Hamlet #2

“He is but a hack, churning out opium for the masses*, to distract them from their daily misery.  The goal of any Englishman is distraction.  Be it ale, loose woman or going to the theatre,  Shakespeare does not even care enough to publish his works or sign his name.  I proudly sign all my plays!’

Gravedigger actor, Hamlet #1

“Yes, and tempt treason by doing so. The profession of playwright is the most dangerous one in England.  You can cut off your own head by using too sharp a pen!  Shakespeare does not wish to end up like Ben Johnson, serving time in prison for being too clever.

Shakespeare writes to feed his own belly and that of his family, and he loves the theatre. He does not write for fame.  Fame can be fleeting, who will know of his works in the future?  Better to seek happiness today, than glory in the future.  We little know our fates after we die, better to live today with the living than as a memory of those not yet born.”

Gravedigger bit actor, Hamlet #2

“I’ll ruin that bearded bard yet!  Tonight we open in the play he thinks will win him more patronage.  I know there is a potential royal backer in the audience tonight.  Lord Grumpycat has demanded Shakespeare write a serious play with nothing to make him smile!  I may not be a successful playwright, but I am the best bit player in the company.  I can make Lord Grumpycat laugh and laugh, and then Shakespeare will lose this much needed backing and be ruined!”

Gravedigger actor, Hamlet #1

“Oh Yorick, I thought I knew you well, Shakespeare told us to take  out all the jokes!  He knows full well you are the best bit actor in the company.  You, and only you could play this scene and make people laugh.  Think, Ophelia has just committed suicide.   Indeed I have seen our fellow thespian John in costume and there is hardly any stubble at all. Everyone will be so sad such at the death of such a beauty.

How could any in the audience laugh at our digging her grave? Yet Shakespeare knows you, and only you, could make them howl with humor. I think he is indeed honoring you by putting  your name in the play.  Without your skill, Hamlet would just be a  depressing play, and there is a still a whole lot of it to get through after we go on! The laughter of our scence is the only way to give the souls of the audience a relief from the sadness.

Shakespeare said we must not say the jokes or be funny tonight though, as Lord Grumpycat demands a play that is depressing all the way through.  Indeed, I think Shakespeare is optimistic ,as only a playwright can and has to be, to think Lord Grumpycat would invest any of his hoarded gold in any production here.  I fear we are doomed, as Lord Grumpcat will not like the play as he likes nothing.”

Gravedigger bit actor #2

“Then this is my chance, I will go out and perform as I never have before.  The audience will laugh and laugh.  I may never gain the fame or success of Shakespeare, but I will ruin him tonight!”

Gravedigger actor Hamlet #1

“I can’t let you do this!”

Gravedigger bit actor Hamlet #2

“Oh come on, I was just kidding, let’s go to the pub.  It’s all on me!”

Later that night after the performance

Lord Grumpycat

“Shakespeare, I smiled for the first time in years, verily I have not laughed since Bloody Mary was around.  Now those were the days!  Beheadings, burning people at the stake, Tower of London was kept full in those days!  But those gravediggers, especially that one… what’s his name, Yorick, by golly these old whiskers trembled with mirth!  If it weren’t for him I would not now be investing in the company.  You need never worry again about expenses, for Yorick has indeed proven not poor but rich for all involved with this production!”


“Alas poor Yorick has gone home with a massive headache, as well as the other gravedigger, or I would bring them here so their own ears could hear your praise!  I think they both had a bit too much before performance libations!  But, Yorick has proven once again that each member of our ensemble is of importance, and his wisdom tonight has saved us all!

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, but he plays that part not alone but with his fellow players.  There can be no play without a cast. Every player, be he a bit player or the star, is of equal importance to the success of the production. Poor Yorick shall be poor no more, he shall have a raise in salary!”

Gravedigger actor Hamlet #1

“Alas poor Yorick, your plan failed.  Also my head feels like a thousand lutes are echoing inside it.  Still, you were indeed a star tonight, proving again that while your plays may not be successful, the memory of tonight will cheer those that saw your performance the rest of their lives.”

Gravedigger bit actor Hamlet #2

“Wait a moment while I cast up my accounts.


Did Shakespeare say something about a raise before we left?  I think I shall buy more foolscap because while I may be a fool to continue writing, I shall do so.  But I shall also be proud of saving that damnable spellers ass.”

*Marx might have copied this bit from an unpublished play by Yorick, we’ll never know.

Lord Grumpycat

Lord Grumpycat

This post was inspired by all my friends going into their later years and suddenly remembering they were supposed to be famous and successful by now.  They all are successful, with good friends and family.  Still personal fame is an elusive goal, and when you get older the fear you may never reach it causes much anxiety to say nothing of sports car shopping. 

 But, there aren’t any stars down here on Earth.  Every supposedly famous person is only a success because of having an audience.  Every time I read a good book, or enjoy a work of art or even a well made meal at a restaurant, I am part of the success of the creator.

Success for me is when I write something, and someone I admire tells me how much they enjoyed reading it.  I would not trade any number of blog hits or book sales for the compliments of those friends I admire.  James Randi told me once how he felt he was much like a character in one of my children’s short stories in the book “Fairy Tales, Fairly Told”. He made the entire book a success for me with just that one comment.  When one person is touched by something you have done that is better than fame.  So keep creating and striving and hoping, but never ever think lack of fame means you are a failure. 

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1 reply

  1. Kitty, I loved this post.
    Please save me some time and tell me who wrote “Gravediggers Punch”

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