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Dec 3 / Jonathan

Alas, poor Andre

Royal Shakespeare Company to stop using ‘distracting’ real skull in Hamlet

The use of the skull had been kept a carefully guarded secret throughout the play’s four month run in Stratford until leading man David Tennant disclosed that the skull belonged to the late pianist Andre Tchaikovsky — who bequeathed his skull to the RSC for this very purpose.

Andre Tchaikovsky left his skull to the RSC in 1982 after he died of cancer to be used on stage in Hamlet. It took a quarter of a century to happen — and he posthumously appeared as Yorick in the recent production of Hamlet at Stratford.

“He hated the way it was done. When he saw it with the RSC, he (Andre) said ‘I am going to leave my skull to the RSC, they really should have a proper skull. It doesn’t work with the plastic thing they have’. And then we looked at his will, and there it was.”

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