Thursday, January 5, 2012

Crazy Shakespeare Ideas

Every once in a while, that germ of an idea plants itself in my head, and I like to let it play out a little bit, even if I know I'm not going to actually do anything with them.

This often takes the form of ideas for theatrical productions that I'll never do.  My days as a theatre producer are behind me for the most part, having already lost my shirt on it once.  But that doesn't mean the bug isn't still there.

The idea hit me of doing really crazy Shakespeare productions.  I've been involved in my share of crazy ones (a slapstick As You Like It with wise-talking trees, an all-female Macbeth, an utterly doomed surreal Twelfth Night, to name a few), so those ideas still percolate up to the top of my brain.  I mean, I know that "high-concept interpretation of Shakespeare" is almost a cliche, but I do enjoy them.  Anyway, some strange ones came to me.

Zombie Apocalypse Titus Andronicus- Shakespeare's blood-filled atrocity could go quite nicely with a zombie apocalypse churning in the background.  It certainly fits in terms of bleakness.  And there's tons of bits that you can use.  When Mutius and Quintus are trapped in the pit, it can be a pit full of zombies!  When Lavinia is raped, with her tongue and hands cut off, why not go one step further: have her be zombified.  Then she spends the rest of the play muzzled and trying to bite people.  (This makes the bit where Young Lucius is freaked out by her even more freaky.)  Then when Titus captures Chiron and Demetrius, he can let Lavinia eat them!  And then Tamora will eat pies of their zombie-infested flesh!  Lucius can ride back into town with an army of corralled zombies!  It's got a lot of potential.

Military Space Opera Much Ado About Nothing- It's almost TOO easy.  Don Pedro's ship docks at Leonato's station, returning from the war.  Romance and smart talk between their respective XOs.  Alien constable Dogberry speaks in fractured English.

Steampunk Tempest- If any of Shakespeare's plays lends itself to steampunk craziness, it's The Tempest.  Prospero can have giant machines.  Caliban and Ariel can be bronze-and-pipe covered robots.  And awesome costumes.

I'm not actually going to do any of these any time in the near future.  So, if you're reading this, and you've got a theatrical fire to burn, why not try one of these?


A. Lockwood said...

Oh nice! My school had a Shakespeare group that would do things like this. Very fun changes.

Anonymous said...

While I can see _The Tempest_, I'd have to argue for _MND_ getting the steampunk treatment, too. There are a lot of steampunk fairies I've seen in recent years. And with the Victorian interest in all things fairy, it seems like a nice match.

Marshall Ryan Maresca said...

I can see how Steampunk and MND would fit very well. However, I am somewhat unfond of MND (I could probably write an essay on "The Mechanicals Problem" in that show, for one), so thoughts on productions of it don't really cross my mind. But I agree, it would be the other best fit for Steampunk Shakespeare.