There is a comedian whose improvisation routine includes asking “What if?” questions using Google search engine. Audience members call out a letter, the comedian enters “What if+ letter” in the search bar, he reads the first topic(s) that pop up, and then he jokes about that topic.
In honor of Shakespeare’s 400th, here is a try at the same routine (without the jokes) taken on (4/9/16)
Top 5 Google Search Results:
“What if Shakespeare…?”
#1. Shakespearean What-Ifs — Good Tickle Brain
This first entry to pop-up features the mini-comics of Mya, artist and librarian who was introduced to Shakespeare at eight or nine years old, and has been addicted ever since. She drew the first Shakespearean What-If in five hours for Mini-Comics Day at the University of Michigan Art, Architecture and Engineering Library.
Her “What ifs…” feature alternate Shakespearean timelines that “…hinge on a single moment when Tragedies could so easily become comedies, and comedies could so easily end in tears.”
Here’s a look at some alternate Shakespearean timelines that she offers for print:
If you are so inclined, feel free to download the Hamlet PDF and print them out full size (no scaling to fit page, thank you) Also Julius Caesar and Macbeth.
#2. Quote by Gayle Forman: “But what if Shakespeare―
The second pop-up was a quote by Gayle Forman who is also writer, a writer that does not have to be assigned to read in high school. Young adults made her novel If I Stay a best-seller. She also wrote the novel Just One Day, in which the protagonist Allyson Healey’s post-graduation trip to Europe changes her life, She makes an uncharacteristically unpredictable decision to stay with Willem, a Shakespearean actor. The quote above opens the novel.
- When I was little I wanted to grow up to be the sun. I was devastated to learn this was not a career option.
- I bombed my SATs. I still did okay in life.
- As a teen, I was so obsessed with Molly Ringwald that I started biting my lip like she did and now I have a permanent scar. And this is why I am a YA author.
#3. If Shakespeare Had a Sister
“…picked up a book now and then, one of her brother’s perhaps, and read a few pages. But then her parents came in and told her to mend the stockings or mind the stew and not moon about with books and papers.”
“She had the quickest fancy, a gift like her brother’s, for the tune of words. Like him, she had a taste for theatre. She stood at the stage door; she wanted to act, she said. Men laughed in her face.”
“that any woman born with a great gift in the sixteenth century would certainly have gone crazed, shot herself, or ended her days in some lonely cottage outside the village, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked at.”
In her essay Woolf’s mourns not only the fictional Judith, but also the unheard voices of real women writers throughout history who suffered similar fates.
#4. What if… we didn’t have Shakespeare – Prospect Magazine
The subtitle of this article by Justina Crabtree Could Christopher Marlowe have equalled Shakespeare’s achievement? is a commentary on the budding genius of playwright Marlowe before his untimely end in a knife fight in a bar. Crabtree poses the question as to whether Marlowe might have had the same impact on language as Shakespeare did:
“Without [Shakespeare] him, nobody would “melt into thin air” (The Tempest), nor would there be “method in our madness” (Hamlet). We’d never be “in a pickle” (The Tempest), nor would we ever be a “laughing stock” (The Merry Wives of Windsor). Things would never go “full circle” (King Lear), or be achieved in “one fell swoop” (Macbeth).”
Furthermore, Crabtree ponders if Marlowe had the potential to match Shakespeare’s characters, those “truly rich, three-dimensional characters” which were a “progression away from the Medieval morality tradition.”
“And if you take “Anonymous” as just a movie, it may not even be that bad. I couldn’t possibly judge, because I was apoplectically stuttering about the inconsistencies…”
“So, enough. It is impossible that Edward de Vere wrote Shakespeare. Notice that I am not saying improbable; it is impossible.”
While I had thought five entries would be enough, the #6 entry is too good not to share
#6. What if Shakespeare wrote Star Wars? “Alas, poor …
What if William Shakespeare took a crack at Star Wars? Just imagine the classic Wookie and R2-D2 chess scene re-written as a Greek chorus.
LUKE Alas, poor stormtrooper, I knew ye not,
Yet have I ta’en both uniform and life
From thee. What manner of a man wert thou?
A man of inf’nite jest or cruelty?
A man with helpmate and with children too? 5
A man who hath his Empire serv’d with pride?
A man, perhaps, who wish’d for perfect peace?
Whate’er thou wert, good man, thy pardon grant
Unto the one who took thy place: e’en me.