The story so far: pianist Andre Tchaikowsky bequeathed his skull to the RSC with the wish that it be used in a future production of Hamlet. It was eventually used by David Tennant at Stratford although it probably won’t be when the show transfers to London.
Mr Tchaikowsky died at the tender age of 46 in 1982 but until Tennant picked it up this year it has only been used in rehearsals although it did get an airing – literally on the roof of the RSC for the first two years.
This extraordinary story has, of course, got the Whingers thinking about their own mortality and – always thinking of others – they are anxiously fretting over to whom they should leave their own body parts.
It’s a bit like making a Christmas card list – we don’t want to cause offence by leaving anyone off (a problem generally avoided by not sending any at all); although the Whingers are known for sticking their necks out and getting out of hand, they do not wish to be accused of being spineless heels with no hearts.
But sadly until cloning becomes a reality there’s only so far their body parts will stretch and so some of London’s theatrical luminaries will inevitably be disappointed (although the demise of the Whingers will surely be quite a significant consolation).
The final legacy (barring any codicils – both Whingers are determined to add lots of codicils) looks something like this:
Mr Kevin Spacey will receive Phil’s head for a future production of Salome at the Old Vic and Mr Nicholas Hytner will be offered Andrew’s Bottom for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Not wishing to snub the smaller companies, the Whingers have decided to donate their cheeks to Cheek by Jowl, their knees to Kneehigh and their hips to Out of Joint.
Body parts may be used freely in revivals of Arms and the Man, Out on a Limb, A Severed Head, Five Finger Exercise and Chu Chin Chow. A special bequest has been made to support touring productions of Gone with the Windpipe, Donkey’s Ears and Femur of the Species to star Anthony Calf and Cherie Lung-hi or anything written by Iris Murdoch.
What’s left? Well, their hope is that Punchdrunk take their livers, though this may have to be for a show in an arena at least the size of O2. In fact, their livers – with the addition of music – could actually be the entire show.