William Shakespeare’s literary creations have permeated countless aspects of our daily lives. From the expressions we use in our everyday conversations to the plots of the contemporary novels we read, Shakespeare’s legacy shines through in our language and in our culture. Though not everyone has had the pleasure of reading or seeing one of his plays, most of us have acknowledged his influence on us through our expressions—“wear your heart on your sleeve”—or through our Netflix choices (GAME OF THRONES, anyone?). In honor of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s production of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED) [REVISED], we asked people to give us one sentence summaries of Shakespeare’s plays. The synopses that resulted were sometimes poignant, mostly outrageous, always (abridged) versions of Shakespeare’s classics. As Shakespeare himself once wrote: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”
Comedies: Boy meets boy but boy is really a girl.
Tragedies: Ambition, murder, and a ton of bird references.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING: The first soap opera ever made.
ROMEO AND JULIET: Boy meets girl meets poison.
HAMLET: Hello, my name is Hamlet; you killed my father, married my mother, took control of my kingdom, and poisoned me: prepare to die.
TITUS ANDRONICUS: Revenge. Also blood, blood, and more blood.
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW: Sexism gets the girl.
HAMLET: Intrigue, incest, and insanity are brewing in Hamlet: Prince of 11th grade English.
THE TEMPEST: White people colonize a country and they have their happy ending but the indigenous population is only happy once the colonizers achieve their goals.
ROMEO AND JULIET: Two jerks don’t listen to their parents and die.
OTHELLO: Dumb guy is jealous of cool guy, plots against him.
JULIUS CAESAR: Group of haters kill a beasty dude.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: Group of weirdoes get wild in the woods.
RICHARD III: Richard is a scheming Machiavellian sophisticate who murders to get the throne.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: Four lustful people develop an awkward love triangle while fairy-rivals use them and an ass to settle a score.
HAMLET: Hamlet saves the fair city from the vampire army with the help of his friend Blade (played by Wesley Snipes).
KING LEAR: A king divides his kingdom between two daughters who loathe him while banishing his one daughter who loves him before going insane as his disloyal daughters plot his death before his loyal daughter attempts to save him but then they all die.
The Roman Plays: Putting the ROME in bromance.
PERICLES: Don Juan versus The Priates of the Aegean.
RICHARD III: The Hunchback of…everyone’s dead!
MACBETH: I want; I don’t get.
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: Worst camping trip ever.
ROMEO AND JULIET: Even sadder, more pathetic version of How I Met Your Mother.
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