Monday, Nov. 01, 2010


Lovers are Romeos; skulls are Yoricks. Theater's most famous prop, Yorick's skull makes its appearance in Act V, Scene 1 of Hamlet. "Alas, poor Yorick!" the tortured title character exclaims, holding the onetime head of the court jester he'd known as a child. "I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times. And now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!" Hamlet, a fellow wont to ruminate, didn't need a skull to remind him of death (after all, he had already spoken with the ghost of his father), but this cold fossil of a formerly vivacious man really gets our angst-ridden Dane going on mortality.