Shakespeare in Shorts

shorts1-klein24-27 July 2006

To bee or not to bee

It’s the end of the 16th century and young William Shakespeare is having trouble with Hamlet’s “to be or not to be”-soliloquy. A rhyme for “sea”?By trial and error he makes his way through many versions: to see, to flee, to pear, to pea etc, dramatically aided by his sister Judith. The solution to his word-finding problems, however, finally soars in uninvited on two wings.

Shall I compare thee…?

Shakespeare’s sonnets – 154 little dramas thrown together in loose order but featuring a kind of steady cast: the writer, the young man, the dark lady and a rival poet. Here they come to life, acting out their passions and tribulations in verse and in prose – aided by a well-read narrator and occasionally disturbed by a desperate anonymous poet, who tries to compose a sonnet that starts with “Shall I compare thee”; but then ends in a work which is rather different from Shakespeare’s sonnet 18.

The optimized Macbeth

The “Scottish play”– according to an old theatre superstition it is cursed or bewitched. Allegedly in no other production have there been so many accidents…So it was tempting to do a Macbeth parody where everything goes wrong on purpose. The cast is reduced to 10 and is moreover all female. Plus one grumbling male technician, to whom goes much of the credit for the disastrous show: witches without a cauldron, blood of the wrong colour and obnoxious daggers on strings showing up at wrong moments, etc.

The Hamlet Triangle

What if Hamlet and Ophelia had not died? What if they had gone to college instead to study psychology to be able to better understand the disturbances in their families? And what if Romeo and Juliet hadn’t committed suicide but had married secretly and discovered later that they didn’t really like each other?
What if they had started couples-therapy with Hamlet? And what if the cliché that most therapists start affairs with their female clients proved true? Then there might indeed be something rotten in the state of Denmark…

Scripts of “To Bee” and “The Hamlet Triangle”