This is the upside of taking a completely unplanned semi-break from school:
I was the lone audience member this morning in a presentation of a world-premiere production of "Hamlet 2." Jo, seeing a door perhaps left open by Shakespeare at the close of "Hamlet," took it upon herself to add a second installment. In this chapter, Hamlet was actually not killed, but merely mostly dead at the end of the last scene. He is pulled back from the edge of death by the ghost of his father, hidden away, and nursed back to strength.
Prince Fortinbras discovers that Hamlet's demise has been greatly exaggerated, and decides to take up arms in an attempt to secure the throne in case Hamlet returns.
Which, of course, he does.
A bloody battle, replete with Shakespearian comedy, ensues. At the close, once again, Hamlet lies at death's door, whispering to dear Horatio. This time, however, Hamlet bequeaths the kingdom to Horatio before breathing what one can only hope is, indeed, his last breath.
When interviewed, the writer/director acknowledged that she felt the burden of history in even approaching such a weighty and well-regarded title.
"That's why Hamlet had to die at the end," she admitted. Apparently, anything less would have been sacrilege.
My apologies to the Bard, and my thanks to the G. family for their wonderful gift of this book, which taught my children a whole lot more than I did today. :-)