Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Alas, poor Yorick, I knew Andre well.

Apparently the dead are more distracting than the living in the latest incarnation of Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company. The skull of concert pianist and Holocaust survivor Andre Tchaikowsky has been appearing in the current Stratford production, starring David Tennant, and is causing a bit of a sensation. It was Tchaikowsky's dying wish to have his skull used in Hamlet and he bequeathed it to the RSC, but now the company says a fake skull will be used when it transfers to London. Audiences were unaware the skull belonged to the Oxford pianist, but the secret was revealed by Tennant. The RSC told Channel 4 that now the secret was out, it would be "too distracting for the audience" if the skull was used. Tchaikowsky died of cancer at the age of 46 and donated his organs to medical research, with the exception of his skull.

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