It is not uncommon for people to put on performances in Grand Theft Auto Online. These days, there are entire role play servers with special modifications that allow players to better strut and fret their hour upon the stage, and they’re hugely popular. But players don’t usually do much acting in regular old, unmodified GTA Online, and they definitely don’t perform Shakespeare.
That, however, did not stop a YouTuber named Sam “Rustic Mascara” Crane from attempting to perform Hamlet, a play in which basically everybody dies. He ended up dying, too—albeit in some pretty novel ways compared to the source material. Crane’s goal, according to a video description, was to “re-appropriate the world of GTA as a space for meditative existentialism through performance and poetry.” Unfortunately, GTA players had guns.
First, Crane attempted to perform one of Hamlet’s most famous monologues, in which a depressed Hamlet reflects on the human condition, in a public GTA Online lobby.
“What a piece of work is a man,” he recited as numerous players chattered in the background and bullets whizzed past him, killing others involved in a spontaneous skirmish. “How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty. In form and moving, how express and admirable. In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god.”
Then he got hit by a rocket. Whoever fired it was maybe not being super godlike at the time. This pattern kept up on repeat attempts. Eventually, Crane made it through the monologue and asked a nearby player if they liked it. In response, they wordlessly hummed a little song.
In a second video, Crane attempted the concept again, but in a more formal setting. He and a friend decided to perform a late-night exchange between two sentinels, Barnardo and Francisco, this time on the stage of Los Santos’ Vinewood Bowl. They managed to attract an audience, but it was not long before their two-strong throng of onlookers started shooting at each other.
“If I could just request that you refrain from killing each other,” said Crane. Then one of the audience members opened fire on him, blasting him into a nearby wall. “And don’t kill the actors, either,” he said while hurtling through the air.
Crane and his friend proceeded to run through their lines while circling the stage, weapons drawn. In front of them, players shot at each other while copters flew overhead and police sirens wailed.
“Have you had quiet guard?” asked Crane’s friend, as Barnardo.
“Not a mouse stirring,” Crane replied as Francisco, nearly bursting into laughter at the irony of the scene in front of him.
“Well, goodnight,” said his friend, laughing. “If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus, the rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.”
“I think I hear them,” said Crane right as a rocket exploded a few feet away.
Not long after, NPC police officers showed up and opened fire. “Shit, there’s the fuckin’ police,” said Crane, probably not quoting Shakespeare anymore.
Still, he gamely tried to continue his performance.
“Barnardo has my place,” he said. “Give you good night.”
At which point a police officer shot him in the head. Goodnight indeed.
Still, given the circumstances, it doesn’t seem like he was too disappointed with the performance.
“We did pretty well there to get as far as we did there,” Crane chuckled after it became apparent that the show was not going to go on.