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Performing Hamlet in GTA Online is simply the best theater experience lockdown can offer

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To be, or not to be (shot in the face while trying to soliloquize), that is the question

Plenty of actors can, I’m sure, cite plays they were in where the audience was bored, listless, or simply nonexistent. But few have had to contend with the challenges presented by performing in a public lobby in GTA Online. That’s a shame, frankly, because it’s hilarious.

A YouTuber by the name of Rustic Mascara has been testing the limits of this bold new performance space, and, though I can’t explain exactly why, I find it amazing to watch.

In one video (above), he performs a speech from Act II Scene ii, in which Hamlet explains to his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern why exactly he is so very, very sad. In Rustic’s performance, this is prefaced by requests to nearby players that they please not kill him. He gets as far as lamenting that the Earth itself “appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors” before being blown up by a rocket. He then respawns and continues with the extremely apt next line “What a piece of work is a man” before being killed again, moments later.

Honestly, this is Shakespeare as Shakespeare himself would have wanted it.

Another video (below) shows Rustic and a friend performing the play’s opening scene in GTA Online’s own Vinewood Bowl. Again, things don’t exactly go smoothly, but there’s something incredible about watching the two characters (a pair of guards on night watch) reassure one another that they’ve heard “not a mouse stirring” as the sound of sirens and gunshots fill the air.

That’s all we’ve really got from Rustic so far (there’s two other videos on his channel, but they’re not as good), though I hope his future attempts gather more support. GTA Online has entertained players with heists and races, but what about incentivizing players to form roving theater troupes, each attempting to perform the classics while fending off rival gangs of gun-wielding actors? After all, a little bit of culture never hurt anybody.