David Tennant uses real human skull during his Hamlet run

Actor David Tennant, best known for his recent turn as Dr. Who, has made the dream of concert pianist André Tchaíkowsky come true.

The pianist, who died in 1982 from Cancer, wanted nothing more than to be a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company – as an actor.  When he died he donated his body to medical science with the strange addendum that his skull be delivered to the RSC for use in theatrical performances.

For 26 years the skull was stored away and never used because no actor felt comfortable enough using a real human skull until the good doctor came and granted a dead pianist his one wish.  For 22 performances and counting, Tchaíkowsky has played the valiant role of “Yorkick” during the RSC’s production of Hamlet unbeknownst to audience members and cast members alike.

Only Tennant and director Greg Doran knew the truth.

“I thought it would topple the play and it would be all about David acting with a real skull,” admitted Doran.

The RSC had to obtain a licence from the Human Tissue Authority to use the skull because it is less than 100 years old. The truth was revealed after the final performance. The play will move to the Novello Theatre in London next week. It has yet to be decided if Tennant will use Tchaikowsky’s skull there.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • jamesfurbush December 2, 2008, 6:07 am

    Yeah, that's exactly what I loved about the story. Not that he used a human skull, which is noteworthy but that this deceased man finally had his dying wish come true…

  • Rowdigrl December 2, 2008, 2:57 am

    I think that was pretty cool of David Tennant. It was the guy's dying wish.

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