Terminator the Second: T2 Reenacted Using Only Lines from Shakespeare!

Nashville’s Husky Jackal Theater mashes up the 1590s and 1990s in William Shakespeare Presents Terminator the Second, the story of a boy and his cyborg protector. Every line is from the plays of William Shakespeare; only proper nouns, pronouns and verb tenses were changed.

According to io9, the full play debuted at the Nashville School of the Arts in October 2011, and a DVD of the performance is in post-production now. That film will be available for download on November 1st.

(Found at the production’s homepage.)

“B or Not a B?,” a poem by Gary Dop

A little something to get you through the last presentations of the semester, from Minneapolis poet & teacher, Gary Dop:

Shakespeare, the top American writer ever,
wrote his plays in an English accent
like Russell Crowe. “Merchant of Venice”

is a problem play because it’s about hard crap
like racism and the civil rights movement,
but not Martin Luther King who was southern

and not in Boston like the bard,
which’s Willie’s nick name. People call me
Slash. Al Pacino’s a character in the movie

adapted by Shakespeare just like the play,
except Shakespeare liked boys
to play girls, and no girls were allowed

in his theaters all over the globe. Even girl parts
like the chick who looks like Cate Blanchett,
who dresses like a boy — like Cate did

when she played Bob Dylan — that girl’s named
after the car, Portia, to indicate she’s wealthy —
even those girls were boys, but nobody was gay

back then — no offense. The Shylock wants
a pound of Jeremy Irons to pay for his sins
because Jews are going to hell

according to the Angel-Kind church, which is like
Catholics but their Pope gets divorced.
Queen Elizabeth, who still isn’t dead,

banished the Jews. During the Holocaust
Hitler killed 6 million Jews. Israel was founded
in 1948. One scholar, Ilikeitlikethat74

on Cheatpapers.com, suggested that Shakespeare
was racist and hired a ghost writer.
Build to a passionate close — oops,

I wasn’t supposed to — that was my notes.
So we can learn much intelligence
from “Merchant” even if we don’t know Jews

and we don’t like Christians. In conclusion
a quote from Pacino, who starred
in Scarface and he was the devil

in that one with Keanu Reeves: “I am a Jew.
Hath not a Jew hands.” I’ll skip ahead
to stay under time. “If you prick us,

do we not bleed?” It’s like, If you tickle us,
do we not laugh? In conclusion, you grasp
that Shakespeare is patriotic

and would have stood on the white cliffs
of Dover, Georgia with Dr. King.

Incidentally, I used to think pieces like this, or Richard Lederer’s classic, often-plagiarized-and/or-forwarded “Brief History of the World,” (Sir Francis Drake circumcising the world with a 100-foot clipper, and other eras from the anals of history) had to be put-ons. It was easier to believe that one clever guy could invent a hilarious tour de force of misunderstandings or malapropisms than that a steady tour of ordinary students could each contribute their own bit of farce.

I’ve been teaching long enough to believe both now: Some teachers are creative geniuses, and most students have genuinely boneheaded moments. Put those together and, well, way to go, Gary!

(Listen to Gary Dop read his poem at Minnesota Public Radio. It was first published in Quiddity.)

Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays? Imaginary Monkeys.

One year ago today, BBC.com posted a story headlined, Virtual Monkeys Write Shakespeare. Among the unlikely highlights reported as news:

How to Write GudMr. Anderson’s virtual monkeys are small computer programs uploaded to Amazon servers. These coded apes regularly pump out random sequences of text. (Monkeys, apes, they’re virtually the same, right?)

There are about 5.5 trillion different combinations of any nine characters from the English alphabet. Mr. Anderson’s monkeys are generating random nine-character strings to try to produce all these strings and thereby find those that appear in Shakespeare’s works.

To make things easier on his monkeys (and his PC), Mr. Anderson is not concerned with punctuation.

The first single work to be completed was the poem “A Lover’s Complaint.” Without the quotation marks, apostrophe or capitals, I suppose.

In the five weeks between August 21, 2011, and the publication of this news story, Mr. Anderson’s imaginary monkeys had completed 99.990% of the unpunctuated re-creation.

Calculations by a UK mathematician suggest it would take far longer than the age of the Universe for monkeys to completely randomly produce a flawless copy of the 3,695,990 or so characters in the works: “Along the way there would be untold numbers of attempts with one character wrong; even more with two wrong, and so on…Almost all other books, being shorter, would appear (countless times) before Shakespeare did.”

In 2003, Paignton Zoo carried out a practical test by putting a keyboard connected to a PC into the cage of six real monkeys. After a month the monkeys had produced five pages of the letter “S” and had broken the keyboard.

Anyone care to guess what passage was the .010% the monkeys were still struggling with a year ago? Or whether they finally finished it?

“That quote should be carved into the forehead of any fraudulent non-fiction writer…”

I’d love to have had backstage access for a Globe Theatre production circa 1600.  The next best thing, I suppose, other than delving into a great Stephen Greenblatt essay, is reading Gaiman’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

With that story, we know a dream version of what it was like when Shakespeare completed his deal with Dream/Morpheus/Sandman. It’s a marvelous piece of literature, reflective and reverent toward its source inspiration while augmenting the issue of parallel identities and role-playing.  And the illustrations are superb.  Dreamy, satisfying, and complex.

Peep the panel at the end of page 13.  Hobgoblin says, “This is magnificent — and it is true!  It never happened; yet it is still true.  What magic art is this?” A perfect summation of a perfect story based on a perfect story.  ~”Juanito”

* * * * *

This is magnificent–and it is true! It never happened; yet it is still true. What magic art is this?

That quote should be carved into the forehead of any fraudulent non-fiction writer without the guts to remove the crutch of “this really happened”–which it didn’t anyway–from his work.  ~”Miller”

(Two AV Club comments.)