The Adventures of Ken Harris, Fictional Time Traveler. Episode 1.|
Each week, Ken Harris magically travels into a famous work of fiction to warn characters of impending danger. This week’s destination is Macbeth.
As the episode begins we find Macbeth and Banquo debriefing the encounter they have just had with the three witches.
BANQUO: Were such things here as we do speak about?
Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner?
MACBETH: Your children shall be kings.
BANQUO: You shall be king.
MACBETH: And thane of Cawdor too: went it not so?
BANQUO: To the selfsame tune and words. (just then a man appears out of the ether into which the witches have just disappeared) Who's here?
KEN HARRIS: Tis I, Ken Harris, visitor from the outside world here to bring you tidings of danger.
MACBETH: My good Banquo, seest thou yet another spectral visage?
BANQUO: Yea, this one with prophesy opposing that which the previous visitors didst foretell.
MACBETH: How now, strange visitor? What ‘tidings of danger’ bringest thou on this foul and fair night?
KEN HARRIS: Gentlemen, I hate to take the wind out of your sails. I know right now you’re all like “Yippee, I’m gonna be king”, and "My scions shall reign", but I got a sneak peek at the pages to come, and I’m here to tell ya, things go south fast. Banq, you're gonna be toast before the end of Act II, and Mac, you'll give new meaning to the term 'royally screwed'. But I'm here to help, fellas. I think the key to sidestepping these land mines is keeping Lady McB on the sidelines, if you know what I mean. So Mac, you might not want to tell the Missus about the whole ‘king’ thing. Can a brother get a 'yea verily'?
MACBETH: There is but little sense in your words, O foreign ghost. The mind dost not grasp what the ears hear. Somewhere twixt thy mouth and mine ears seems their meaning has been spirited away. Banquo, knowst thou of what he speaks?
BANQUO: Nary a word rings sane.
KEN HARRIS: (Aside) Alas. What we hath here is a failure to communicateth.
(turning to Macbeth and Banquo)
‘Have’ to ‘hath’ and ‘do’ to ‘dost’
I’ll speak in Shakespeare if I must.
I’ll speak in rhymes use ‘thou’s and ‘thee’s
That we might speak with greater ease.
And thus I might explain in verse
How blessings can become a curse.
Canst thou now make out my speech?
BANQUO: Yea – speak further we beseech.
KEN HARRIS: I o’erheard the sisters three give to thee a prophesy.
MACBETH: 'Tis true some hags with warted noses prophesied.
KEN HARRIS: And one supposes you are giddy now to share
That Duncan’s crown you soon will wear.
MACBETH: Such tidings can’t be kept inside.
I plan to share them with my bride.
KEN HARRIS: Alas, your plan contains a glitch.
MACBETH: Pray, what is that?
KEN HARRIS: Thy wife’s a bitch.
MACBETH: Zounds, ye rascal! Watch your tongue,
Unless thou wishest to die young!
KEN HARRIS: Banquo, help me out.
BANQUO: Forsooth. Methinks this man doth speak the truth.
KEN HARRIS: May I speak plain?
MACBETH: Go on, be bold.
KEN HARRIS: Is not your wife a wee bit cold?
MACBETH: Only in that time of month.
KEN HARRIS: Which, in her case, is never donth.
She’s colder than those witches’ tits were.
MACBETH: I take offense!
KEN HARRIS: If the shoe fits her…
MACBETH: Prithee, stranger what’s your point?
KEN HARRIS: Well, it follows they’d anoint
Her as the queen if thou were king.
MACBETH: That much is plain.
KEN HARRIS: Well, here’s the thing.
When she finds out, she’ll insist thou
Go claim what’s coming to thee NOW.
But she sees weakness in thy sinew,
She dost not think thou hast it in you.
MACBETH: You’ve yet to say just what this curse is.
KEN HARRIS: To do so I’ll need longer verses.
She’ll want that o’er all the Scots that thou wouldst have dominion.
But as for thy bloodthirstiness, she has a low opinion.
She thinks thy nature’s much too full of milk of human kindness.
And thou know'st well as I do that ambition is her blindness.
With lives at stake I think we should put niceties behind us.
I’ll tell you frank of what will be, I hope you will not mind this.
She’ll lead thee down a path that ends in treachery and murder.
MACBETH: Lies and calumny!
KEN HARRIS: Nay nay, with these two ears I heard her.
She said of your ambition that ‘an illness should attend it’.
Those words of hers, I quote direct -- completely unamended.
And furthermore, when you get home here’s what will come to pass,
The minute you walk through the door, that shrew will nag your ass.
“Screw courage to the wall” she’ll say, and “Go and find your zwagger”
“You’ve got to kill the king” she’ll say, as she hands you a dagger.
Let’s face it, Mac she’s always kept your gonads in her purse,
And squeezing them’s the way she’ll turn this blessing to a curse.
MACBETH: Nay, I'm Thane of Cawdor, no wench tells me what to do.
KEN HARRIS: Methinks thou dost protest too much. (pointing at Banquo) She’ll make you kill him too.
And once the deed is done, the hounds of hell will breaketh loose.
You’ll think you’re safe but prophesies will prove of little use.
You’ll finally realize that all your scheming's been in vain
When Birnam forest rises up and comes to Dunsinane.
BANQUO: How knowst these things that you foretell?
KEN HARRIS: I’ve seen the play. Things don’t end well.
MACBETH: The play? Wherefore the play? Pray, tell us more soothsayer.
KEN HARRIS: You see this whole thing’s just a play with you the major player.
(aside) In fact the play might be the thing to bring this to a close.
(to Banquo and Macbeth) Methinks I should eschew the verse and discourse in plain prose.
KEN HARRIS: Yes, prose.
MACBETH: Well, I suppose.
KEN HARRIS: OK here goes. Stay with me bros…
You see gentlemen we are all players, in fact human life itself is a player, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
MACBETH: Verily, thou hast laid some heavy guano upon us my good friend.
BANQUO: Thou art wise indeed. From whence comes this power of speech thou hast?
KEN HARRIS: ‘Tis Will power, gentlemen. Will Shakespeare power. Heed his words well.
MACBETH: This we shall, good man. This we shall. With your permission we must now take your leave, for I must go show my wench who the Thane of Cawdor is. Let us ride on, Banquo. (as Banquo and Macbeth ride off, Macbeth’s voice can be heard). A drum, a drum, Macbeth doth come to put his wife back ‘neath his thumb.
KEN HARRIS: That’s what I’m talking about!
the lines at the very beginning (before Ken Harris makes his appearance) and, obviously, the "life is a poor player" speech were lifted from the original. I'll cop to authoring all the doggerel in between.
Might make this a series.