To Be, Or Unnot Be As Well, Maybe

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Phil and Rosco Class It Up

Phil and Rosco stand in front of a poster for an upcoming film adaptation of a Shakespeare play.

PHIL: I don’t know why they keep making these things.  No matter how much they modernize the stuff, no one understands Shakespeare anymore.  And for those of us who do, watching these is like watching a mentally-handicapped bastard half-monkey trying to work an abacus.

ROSCO:  People don’t get the language.  What they need to do, instead of remaking his stuff, is adapt classic action films into Shakespeare-ese.  People will learn quickly if they already know what’s being said.  You’d have the common man speaking like an old English dandy in no time.

PHIL: What do you mean?

ROSCO:  Well, take “Heat” for example.  Instead of Robert De Niro saying, “You.  You!” to Ashley Judd, he’d say, “Thee.  Thee!”

PHIL:  Hmmmm . . . “Harlot!  Cleanse thyself and get thee hence unto thy proper quarters!”

ROSCO:  Exactly.  And Al Pacino could be all, “The Grim Reaper might perchance grisly happen upon your shadow whilst thee tarry and fro with thy canine abreast.”

PHIL:  Hehehe –

ROSCO:  “DARE NOT, I WARN THEE, MAKE SPORT OF MY VALUE AND ATTENTION!”

PHIL:  “Such time have you done in places to curb the spines of lesser men.  Folsom and pit for seven and three, with McNeal stretching ‘fore face.  Pray, do tales speak true?  That a soul, soiled by the Devil’s malicious touch, finds nothing but heart ache and despair in such a place?”

ROSCO:  “Doth thee seek a profession as scholar of iron bars and broken men?”

PHIL: “Doth thee seek return ticket and passage?  Pursuited I cowards who, at such a mere sun ray and freedom suckle, cringe and bemoan that fortune has again stolen them from their comfort, doth offend the law of man simply to dwell inside despair again.”

ROSCO:  “Chasing simpletons.”

PHIL:  “An assortment.”

ROSCO:  “What witness can lay claim that I commit petty acts of desolation?  I assault neither a purse from the poor nor a penny from an apothecary.  Have thine eyes seen me thus?”

PHIL:  “Nay.”

ROSCO:  “Indeed.  I shall never return to yonder hole, hence.”

Pause.

PHIL:  I still don’t know.

ROSCO:  Yeah, me neither.

An Exerpt from Two Gentlemen of California

ACT II, Scene III *

Sir Nic and Sir Joe enter.

Sir Nic – Whither and hither, tarry and fro
Whence commence our meeting this merry night so?
And lo behold how I inquire divine
Where shall we meet, your place or mine?

Sir Joe – To night upon my home we will conspire,
And unto pen and paper graft our fire.
Such conflagration wilt out minds concoct
But after workdays end, 6 o’clock.

Sir Nic – How my heart doth fly to see thee answer thus,
But zounds! I fear 6 is a rush.
At 30 of 5 from work do I part
And I’ll get to your house hopefully ere dark.
But where doth you live now?  Do pray say.
My knowledge of your current abode is a grey.

Sir Joe – When’re your journey is convenient,
You will away into the dale of Glen.
Upon riverside you’ll find me,
This house number, apartment d.

Sir Nic – Much thanks and by god give you praise!
I’ll see you that hour, on this day of days!

Sir Joe – HUZZAH!

Exeunt.

* Entire scene takes place via texting.