Hardly anyone likes the plays of William Shakespeare any more. He wrote great stories, invented new words, and greatly influenced English-speaking culture. Without The Bard, there would be no roses by any other names, no ladies that doth protest too much, and no dogs of war. In recent times, people have rebuilt his theatre, The Globe, and translated Hamlet into Klingon. But in an era that demands instant gratification, many find his language too unfamiliar, his stories too long, and his themes difficult to relate to. This is a terribly unfair. Shakespeare liberally mixed sex, violence and comedy into heady concoctions, palatable to both the elite and the man in the street. All the right ingredients are there. They just need remixing for a generation more accustomed to enjoying three minutes of popular cheese than three hours of satisfying entertainment. Here are my remixes of three Shakespeare classics…
Macbeth: Man, it’s pissing down. Good job we slaughtered the enemy so quickly.
Three Witches: Hubble bubble, you’re going to be King!
Banquo: Bloody hell! And what do I get?
Three Witches: You won’t be King, but your children will be.
Macbeth: Tell me more, like who will win the 3.30 at Kempton Park… bugger, they’ve gone.
King Duncan: Macbeth, I owe you a great debt for defeating my enemies in battle. As a reward, I am going to come over to your house for a party. I’ll need to sleep over ‘cos I fancy a drink but I’ll be driving.
Lady Macbeth: (aside to Macbeth) Great, we can kill King Duncan and take over the country!
Macbeth: (to Lady Macbeth) Erm….
Lady Macbeth: (to Macbeth) DO IT, DO IT, DO IT YOU BIG SCOTCH WOOLY WOOFTER
Macbeth: (to Lady Macbeth) Yes dear. (aside) I’m not so sure this is a good idea, but I’d rather murder the King than suffer more nagging from the missus.
[Later that night]
Macbeth: Is this a dagger which I see before me? No, it’s an hallucination. Better take it easy with the ganja next time I host a party. (Kills King Duncan in his sleep)
Lady Macbeth: Jesus Christ, what a mess! You’ve got blood everywhere! I’ll never get the stains out of this carpet.
Macduff: The King is dead! Who killed him? And who will be King now?
Macbeth: I didn’t kill him! No no no no. Not me. No sir. No no no. Now we have that sorted, does anybody object if I crown myself King?
Macduff: (aside) Methinks Macbeth is telling Macwhoppers.
Macbeth: Ok, now I’m King, let’s have another party! (to Banquo) I’d really like you to come, and you should bring your son as well.
Banquo: Okey dokey. (Pulls his mobile phone out and calls his son) Hey son, you’re invited to a party. (Is stabbed in the back) On second thoughts, perhaps you shouldn’t come. (Dies)
Macbeth: Let’s parrr-teeee! Pass that bong over here.
Lady Macbeth: (aside) At least we got him off the crack cocaine.
Macbeth: (seeing Banquo’s ghost) F*ck me! I really should stop smoking this stuff!
Lady Macbeth: Terribly sorry everyone, but this party is over. I’ll never get these bloodstains out with you lot trampling them in further!
Macbeth: I am going to call those witches for advice.
First Witch: Eye of newt, and toe of a frog…
Second Witch: (interrupting) No, no. You’re giving him the recipe for our amphibian stew. He asked for help with getting blood stains out of a carpet… here it is… cold water, salt and hydrogen peroxide.
Third Witch: And whilst we’ve got your attention, you’d better know that no man born of woman can kill Macbeth, and you’ll be safe so long as a great big forest does not walk right up to your front door.
Macbeth: Normally I’d say you must be barking mad, but as the missus is having some success with getting the stains out of the carpet, I’ll take your advice seriously.
English Army: Carrying these branches above our head, they’ll never see us coming!
Macbeth: Geez! The flippin’ forest is marching towards my front door! No, wait, it is the English army in camouflage. Pretty subtle, huh?
Lady Macbeth: (blotting the carpet furiously) Out, out, damned stain! I’ve had enough of this. (Kills herself)
Macbeth: Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow. She should have cleaned the carpet tomorrow.
Macduff: Bloody villain, I’m gonna bust a cap in your ass!
Macbeth: Come on, if you think you’re hard enough. I have it on good authority that no man born of woman can kill me.
Macduff: I was delivered by caesarian section, so was not “born” in an extraordinarily pedantic sense of the word.
Macbeth: Oh well. Serves me right for listening to a lot of bad advice from silly women. (Is killed by Macduff)
Romeo & Juliet
Prince of Verona: This town is going to hell, what with all those brawls between those bloody ruddy Capulets and Montagues.
Romeo: Hey Julie, looking hot! (aside) I like ’em young.
Juliet: Cheers, you’re gorgeous – why don’t you climb up my balcony and light my fire?
Romeo: Could be risky, what with our families feuding all the time. Plus I’m out of condoms…. what the heck, I’ll call a priest.
Priest: I pronounce you man and wife. (aside) She’s a young hottie, but methinks lust has got the better of common sense this time.
Tybalt: Oi, Romeo! No Montague gatecrashers at our party! (aside) I knew we shouldn’t have publicized it through Facebook.
Mercutio: I hate them Capulets.
Tybalt: Take that! (stabs and kills Mercutio)
Prince of Verona: Romeo, you’d better get out of town before I run you out of town!!!
Juliet’s Dad: You look upset. Cheer up! I’m going to marry you off to Count Paris.
Juliet: What a predicament!
Priest: Drink this, and everybody will think you’re dead. (Juliet drinks sleepy stuff, falls into a coma)
Romeo’s servant: I got bad news – Juliet is dead!
Romeo: What a downer. I am going to kill myself.
Apothecary: Here’s that poison you wanted. Bloody lethal it is.
Romeo: Julie, you look hot even though you’re dead. (Drinks poison, dies)
Juliet: (wakes up) Shit! Romeo’s dead. If that poison is as lethal as the apothecary boasts, one drop from his lips will kill me too. (Kisses Romeo, dies)
Prince of Verona: What a balls-up! Why don’t we all learn to get along? Different strokes for different folks. And that apothecary should have a serious think about diversifying into contraceptives.
Narrator: It’s day fourteen in the Big Brother Senate House, and housemates Cassius and Brutus are increasingly fed up with Julius Caesar’s bossy behaviour. Meanwhile, Antony and Caesar’s adopted son Octavius are in the diary room.
Soothsayer: Beware the Ides of March.
Julius Caesar: Come again?
Brutus: He means beware March 15th – eviction night.
Julius Caesar: I’m not taking advice from some strange person I encounter at the start of a play. Didn’t you just see what happened to Macbeth?
Cassius: (aside to Brutus) Caesar bestrides the world like a Colossus, and we walk under his huge legs, afraid to peep up in case we get an eyeful.
Brutus: Yup, Caesar grows too big for his bossy boots.
Cassius: Let’s kill him and put his bossiness to an end.
Brutus: Kill him? Didn’t you see what happened to Macbeth either?
Cassius: A recent internet poll came out strongly in favour of our murdering Caesar.
Brutus: In that case, let’s do it.
[March 15th, at the Big Brother Senate]
Soothsayer: It’s March 15th! Today is eviction day!
Julius Caesar: Are you still here? And who let you in anyway? Don’t you have anything better to do? (Caesar is stabbed in the back by Brutus et al.) Now I get the point. (Dies)
[At the Big Brother’s Little Brother Forum]
Brutus: Romans! I love Rome. We killed Julius Caesar to stop him bossing us all around so much. And because we saw an internet poll that was heavily in favour of his assassination. Is everyone cool with that?
Romans: Sure. There’s no arguing with internet polls. And the way you executed Caesar was very entertaining.
Antony: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.
Romans: What are you going to do with them?
Antony: It’s a figure of speech. I mean, shut up and listen to me for a change. I don’t talk fancy, like Brutus does, but I think it was very naughty of him and the others to kill Caesar. And in his will, Caesar left you all his money and his properties and his prized DVD collection. So tell me now, Romans, who are you going to vote out of the Big Brother Senate come the next eviction day?
Romans: Vote out Brutus! He killed the noble and generous Caesar!
Octavius: (aside, to Antony) Looks like the bookies have you and me as the odds-on favourites to win now.
Brutus: That’ll teach me to trust internet polls. (Kills himself)