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That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once
September 11, 2010 5:00 AM   Subscribe

"I HEREBY REQUEST that my body or any part thereof may be used for therapeutic purposes including corneal grafting and organ transplantation or for the purposes of medical education [...] with the exception of my skull, which shall be offered by the institution receiving my body to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in theatrical performance."

With this clause, Polish pianist and composer André Tchaikowsky kickstarted a tumultuous postmortem career as the Royal Shakespeare Company's most infamous Yorick.

Besides his stage debut (25 years after his death), Tchaikowsky most recently appeared alongside David Tennant in a BBC TV dramatisation of the RSC production of Hamlet: Act 5, Scene 1.
posted by oulipian (17 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy smokes! This is definitely one of the nicer things you can do with your own skull.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 5:37 AM on September 11, 2010


Obligatory Del Close link
posted by briank at 5:41 AM on September 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


There's a Canadian TV show called Slings and Arrows, about the backstage shenanigans of a Shakespearean theatre company, where the theatre director does the same thing when he dies. It never occurred to me that it could be inspired by a true story.

(Aside: the TV show is excellent. Co-created by Mark McKinney from Kids in the Hall.)
posted by Gonnas at 5:50 AM on September 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, there's a pretty funny sequence where he tries to convince the guys running the crematorium to let him take the head, and then how he has to find a disreputable taxidermist that can be paid under the table to clean it. He ends up using the skull as a candy dispenser on his desk when they're not performing Hamlet to get back at Oliver for putting him through that.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:19 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Skull... candy?

Ow.
posted by loquacious at 6:34 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did he get credited on the program?
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:49 AM on September 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awesome. Gonna change my will in the morning.
posted by Ahab at 7:03 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"A stiff and lifeless performance." -- A. Reviewer
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:04 AM on September 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


I will that my right hand be used by medical students in a shocking prank.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:35 AM on September 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


To all those who think this would be awesome to do: some advice from MeFi's own ColdChef.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:46 AM on September 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


That isn't a very nice gift at all until it's been processed.
posted by shinybaum at 7:47 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is one of those things that's cool if one person does it, but things can get out of hand...
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:49 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like how the Wikipedia index on his page goes:
1) Life and Career
2) skull
3) Notable Compositions...
posted by sweetkid at 9:37 AM on September 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


There's a Canadian TV show called Slings and Arrows, about the backstage shenanigans of a Shakespearean theatre company, where the theatre director does the same thing when he dies. It never occurred to me that it could be inspired by a true story.

(Aside: the TV show is excellent. Co-created by Mark McKinney from Kids in the Hall.)


Gonnas: (as a further aside) Thank you so much! If it weren't for your comment I would never know this show existed - and now I will get to watch it since 3 seasons worth are on Netflix :) Streaming, even!
posted by contessa at 11:23 AM on September 11, 2010


That's a pretty cool way to will one's remains.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:02 PM on September 11, 2010


Wow, the most amazing part of this story (to me) is that it took 25 years for the skull to actually make it on stage due to concerns by the RSC about the handling of the skull and the appropriateness of using an actual human skull for Yorick. Wow. I guess if you're a skull, you can wait 25 years for your stage debut, but it seems like an awfully long time to resolve those kinds of questions. I'm guessing that theatre companies don't get skulls willed to them very often.
posted by sonika at 9:54 AM on September 12, 2010


Kid Charlemagne, I've been to that church, it is pretty awesome and special. The best thing about that church is that the pamphlet they give you in English explains that the bones are all from victims that died of the Plaque. So, you know, brush up. Brush well.
posted by piratebowling at 12:59 PM on September 12, 2010


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