Friday, October 12, 2007

Shaking the Spear


Courtesy of Mr. Chris Othic

One of the things about writing sketches is coming up with ideas for
scenes. Well, there is one particular playwright out there that
has an endless supply of scene ideas: William Shakespeare!

This assignment is pretty straightforward. Just think of all those
Shakespeare plays, rife with hundreds of scenes. The great thing
about Willie Shakes is he knows how to create drama, so the scenes
contain lots of conflicts and are great setups for sketches.

Just choose a random scene from one of Shakespeare’s plays and
rewrite it. You can do it however you like. You can keep it in
its original time period, move it to another time period, or make
it modern. You can write it in verse if you like, or use normal
dialogue. You can loosely adapt it with your own characters or use
the same characters and just exaggerate it.

It's an opportunity to explore "Clash of Context" by having, say, a
scene from Macbeth taking place in a corporate setting. Another
example, take the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. There are
literally hundreds of ways to write a sketch based on this scene.
One way is to modernize it, where a drunken college frat boy Romeo
is trying to climb up to Juliet’s sorority house. His drunkenness
is one obstacle, and maybe he is in the crappy fraternity while
Juliet is in the cool sorority. The possibilities are endless.How
about the end of Hamlet? Everybody dies, right? So let’s keep the
set up, but let’s have poor Hamlet be confused and start killing the
wrong people. By the end of the scene, you have a stage full of
dead bodies, and poor Hamlet still hasn’t gotten his revenge.

Shakespeare’s works are rich and full of conflict, internal and
external, as well as all the fun stuff that you can think about
putting in your sketches like murder, mistaken identity, and
revenge. Brush up on the bard and then bastardize his work. Good

Note: If you aren’t familiar with at least some of Shakespeare’s
plays, you really should start reading or seeing them now!


About a year ago - it seems - I asked...

"To honor the place where they met and had their first date, a couple in Springfield, Ohio got married last week where?"

20% said "Strip Club"
- How romantic. And the dee-jay officiated. The dollar dance got a little out of hand, though... No.

11% thought maybe "Rehab"
- They had to say "I do's" and many "I don't-any-more's."...Nope.

11% picked "Prison"
- And even though it was a men's prison, they had plenty of volunteers for "maid of honor." someone got shivved when the bride threw the bouquet, too. ...Not.

58% got it right with "Wal-Mart"

According to the Associated Press, Wal-Mart employees Chet Eldridge and Danna Hornback tied the knot last amid the retailer's flowers, shrubs and lawn chairs. Eldridge, 51, an automotive manager, and Hornback, 45, an arts and crafts associate, met during the store's employee orientation. She agreed to their first date in the furniture section. No word on how the honeymoon in the Sporting Goods aisle went.