Come out, damned prop!
Two Bedford-Stuyvesant actors who perform Shakespeare on the subway are offering a reward for the safe return of their missing “Macbeth” mask, which was ripped off from a production on June 10.
Paul Marino and Fred Jones said a replacement mask for the one-of-a-kind visage — used for Macbeth’s decapitated head — has proven inferior.
“It’s just not the same,” said Marino, 29. “We’re so upset. We’re just praying that some good citizen gives it back to us.”
The buskers last saw the rubber noggin on the G train between Hoyt-Schermerhorn and Bedford-Nostrand, from 7:45 and 8:30 pm, but they refuse to believe that what’s done is done.
“I keep telling Fred that he’s still out there somewhere,” Marino said.
The duo — a two-man operation called “Popeye and Cloudy” — performs four to five days a week on both Brooklyn- and Manhattan-bound trains. Since their January debut, they’ve clocked more than 3,000 subterranean shows, which last a few minutes each.
Their repertoire includes scenes from “Romeo and Juliet,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Hamlet.” They will premiere “King Lear” in two weeks.
But their most electrifying performance is the final scene in Shakespeare’s famous “Scottish play,” where Macduff and the title character engage in an epic sword fight. The blades are imaginary, but the thespians bang on subway doors and pace the car during their rousing delivery. By the end of the vein-popping act, sweat drips from their brows.
“Macbeth is a scene that takes a big toll on us — it’s chaos within chaos,” said the 26-year-old Jones. “It’s a cursed play.”
After Macduff (Marino), beheads Macbeth (Jones), he pulls the mask from his pocket and dangles it before rapt straphangers.
The original mask had a sly, goofy grin and puffy beard — but it also had personality, providing comic relief to their bemused audiences.
“It’s really a big murder scene, but when we’d turn around with this head that looks nothing like us, people would just die,” Marino said.
During a recent rush-hour performance with the replacement, no one laughed. Several passengers did, however, lavish praise and drop dollars in their hats.
The actors bought their irreplaceable prop on clearance at a Manhattan costume shop. Desperate to undo their tragedy, they returned to the store to find a duplicate, scavenged several G train platforms, and even put up a Craigslist ad, but to no avail.
The only photo of their beloved mask is of low quality, so Marino plans to sketch it and hang a “Wanted” poster on telephone poles.
Plebeians with information on the whereabouts of the Macbeth mask should contact Popeye and Cloudy at (646) 431-8979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.