Thursday, 27 Nov, 2008 Offbeat
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Actor Uses Real Skull in Hamlet

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The wish of a pianist, who passed away 26 years ago, has been turned into reality. He wanted his skull to appear on stage in the graveyard scene of the famous William Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet".

The Sun newspaper reported that actors used the skull of Andre Tchaikowsky in rehearsals since the man willed it to the Royal Shakespeare Company. A run of performances has ended up in Stratford-on-Avon, where David Tennant, actor who plays Hamlet, held the skull intoning "Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio ..."

Till the final performance no one from the audience knew that the actor was holding a real skull. It is worth mentioning that Andre Tchaikowsky, who was a Polish pianist, was a huge fan of William Shakespeare and "Hamlet" was his favorite work. The pianist frequently paid visits to Stratford to see the performances of Royal Shakespeare Company.

"It was Andre's dream. They will be pleased he has made it on stage," said Dave Ferre, who is a friend of the Tchaikowsky's family.

David Tennant, who is mostly known for his role in "Doctor Who," hopes to use the pianist's skull again when the production of Shakespeare's tragedy opens in Britain's capital. According to David Howells, the Royal Shakespeare Company archivist, for the last time a real skull has been used back in the 19th century.

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