David Tennant Meets Tchaikovsky
As a Time Lord, David Tennant has managed to meet and work with famous historical figures from across the eras. On stage, as Hamlet, though, he’s had an entirely different kind of close encounter. The BBC reports that The Royal Shakespeare Company has allowed the actor to perform the famed “Alas Poor Yorick” scene using the skull of Pianist Andrew Tchaikovsky.
When the famed musician died, he willed his skull, saying it "shall be offered by the institution receiving my body to the Royal Shakespeare Company for use in theatrical performance".
The skull came into the RSC’s possession in 1982 and actors have only used it in rehearsals before Tennant used it for 22 performances in the current run. When not on stage, the famed skull was maintained in a tissue-lined box.
"It was sort of a little shock tactic,” director Greg Doran said of using the skull. “Though, of course, to some extent that wears off and it’s just André, in his box. I thought it would topple the play and it would be all about David acting with a real skull."