'Hamlet' trades real skull for fake

Dec. 4, 2008 at 1:32 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The Royal Shakespeare Company of Stratford-upon-Avon, England, says its production of "Hamlet" will no longer use a real human skull when it moves to London.

The company said a fake skull will be used in place of Polish pianist Andre Tchaikowsky's skull to depict the remains of the titular character's deceased jester, Yorick, as of the play's Thursday night opening in London's West End, the Daily Mail reported Thursday.

Tchaikowsky, a Polish man who escaped the Holocaust, left instructions prior to his death from cancer in 1982 that his skull was to be given to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in productions of Hamlet. A spokeswoman for the company said the skull's origins were kept from theater-goers until actor David Tennant, who portrays Hamlet in the current production, let the secret slip during a recent interview.

The spokeswoman said troupe officials decided it would be "too distracting for the audience" if they continued to use a real skull.

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