Plays by S. A. Shipley 

Notes on the presentation of

"The Ultimate Hamlet"

If you could spend the night in Hamlet's castle...
Listen as King Claudius plots to keep his crown.
Watch the seductions of the royals.
Laugh at the foolishness of the servants (or marvel at their wisdom).
Spend some time in the kitchen with Cook for a hearty helping of gossip and truth. She might even give away Horatio's secret. Follow anyone you chose through a night at Elsinore... Attend "The Ultimate Hamlet" a simultaneous production of 3 plays the tragedy of "Hamlet", the comedy of "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern" and the romantic adventure of "TO BE". Expect repeat ticketing - no one can see all of the works in their entirety (at least not on just one visit) .

Picture if you will – The Castle Ulgard in Elsinore. A servant in full royal livery checks the guest list for your name, takes your invitation/ticket and ushers you into the castle courtyard where you join the rest of the audience.

Osric, Claudius’ man, gives you a royal welcome. As he explains the evening’s entertainment (and your part in it), Reynaldo, Polonius’ servant, adds a comedic commentary. Horatio enters abruptly with a terrified Bernardo. Felicity, in rags and starving sneaks into the royal hall.

Trumpets sound the arrival of the King. Will you follow Gertrude and her royal lover, Felicity, of Horatio?

As the actors move on to their next scenes each audience member chooses a character to follow. After a scene they may choose a different character. They will meet their companions at the act break and catch up on what everyone else has seen.

At the conclusion, the audience, no matter whom they have followed during the course of the play, will gather to watch the duel between Hamlet and Laertes. The evening concludes with a tender kitchen scene between Horatio and Felicity.



Notes on Felicity


a romantic adventure based on Shakespeare’s "Hamlet"

4 women 8 men

Author: Shane Shipley

As Hamlet chronicles the young Danish prince’s journey from the discovery of his father's murder, to his will to act, and to his final destruction, the play "TO BE" records the journey of a young woman who witnesses that murder and seeks revenge for the murder of her own family.

"Rosencrantz & Guildenstern" is a comedy about the Hamlet's friends.


The sole witness to the murder of King Hamlet, Felicity 17, starving and in rags, sneaks into the castle seeking food, shelter, and revenge.

Horatio champions her. He has a secret of his own. And so does the Cook. As she puts it:

"Kingdoms come and go, but a good cook's never killed."

As Cook, Felicity, and Horatio make plans to save Ophelia that involve a certain gravedigger.

Classical carnage follows.


I wanted to write a speech for a woman that would echo that actor’s riff of "To be or not to be". Of course the question is much different for a woman...


The question's down to this: what's my estate;

Flesh and blood; or ethics, honor, faith?

Those seventh days I marked at father's foot,

My mother's voice; her praise and her reproof,

So all they taught does come down to this choice;

My honor clean or progeny have voice?

Into this deaf'ning silence must I roar

Who only longs to peck before the kitchen door?

I stand, uncertain, at this path's divide

Unchosen, but mine own.

Abandon all their teachings and be safe?

Or keep the covenant they made with me

No one to witness now which choice I make.

And when I choose, what consequence will be.


(There is a longer scene from "TO BE" at the end of this proposal.)

"TO BE" Production history

Staged reading Skirball Museum, LA August 3,1997
Reading – The Hatchlings, Hollywood CA 1998
Reading – John Carlson theater, Bellevue WA 1998

Reading – Lichtman House, Santa Monica, CA 1998

Thanks for the opportunity to present this project.

Shane A. Shipley

to email: click here

A scene sample


Now Marcellus, what will you have to sup tonight? I've a fritter here, would make a heart stand still.


You heeded what Horatio command me?


Then off with you. Fair commerce only in this kitchen.


But Cook, be reasonable. I gave my word.


First off, I know what you saw yesternight. Second, what's a vow to a ghost?


‘Tis true King Hamlet's dead.


T'was Hamlet's ghost?


You didn't know?


Have a fritter and this glass of ale.


You couldn't tempt Horatio. Am I not so fine a man as he?


Ay, you're choice. But hungrier than Horatio. See how the ale gleams.

MARCELLUS and COOK sit down at the table. He reaches for the food. COOK holds it just out of his reach.


Yesternight t'was you as saw the ghost. Also t'was you as drunk the last of the ale.


We all are sworn.


As I know half the mystery, you must swear me too.


I'll swear at you, give me the cake.

COOK lays her hand upon the fritter and swears.


All that pass between us shall be privy. I've a right to know. And you don't know the half of what I know. So swear me.


(imitates the ghost)

Swear! Swear! So did the Ghost charge us to keep silent.


Ahh. Tasty.

COOK pushes the fritter slowly toward MARCELLUS but doesn't relinquish it until he begins to tell in earnest.


He declare to the Prince in secret. Horatio kept us on so short leash as we couldn't hear nothin'.


A crumb.

COOK releases the fritter. MARCELLUS takes it, speaks as he eats.


There ain't none as has your way with a bit of egg.

COOK reaches for the fritter.


I'll tell all, I will, just let a man chew a minnit! Was so 'orrible as you wouldn't believe. Nine feet tall it was, and lookin' every bit as grand as the old royal in his prime. Ay. It's voice boomin like the sad notes off the coast. I heard a bit.


Tell on. I've fritters aplenty.

 Script synopsis (To purchase or request any playscript click here )


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