Rewording Shakespeare: A Writing Game

This chatter is brought to you by the color of my favorite coffee mug, the letter C, and copious amounts of caffeinated coffee. Coffee makes writers smile. Do I have your attention? Good. We’re going to play a writing game.

And by ‘we’ I mean every single follower of Brigit’s Flame (I know who you are). If you do not participate in this game, I will be forced to keep a mental list of demerits against you. I may even stop inviting you to write in my writing games. No one wants that, really.

I am going to introduce several lines of Shakespearean verse, you will translate the stanza of your choice (1, 2, 3, or 4). When rewriting this stanza, feel free to do so in the spirit of whatever culturally-specific vernacular, or literary fashion you like, or, in your own voice as if applying it to personal memoir. #gowrite

1. What art thou that usurp’st this time of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, speak!
(Horatio; Hamlet Act 1, Scene 1)

2. And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
The extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine: and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.
(Horatio; Hamlet Act 1, Scene 1)

3.Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered by Don Pedro.
He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the
figure of a lamb the feats of a lion: he hath indeed better bettered
expectation than you must expect of me to tell you how.
(Messenger; Much Ado About Nothing Act 1, Scene 1)

4. Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
(Romeo and Juliet, Prologue)

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Brigit's Flame is an ever-evolving online writing community. We offer writing prompts and inspiration while sharing our own writing and reading observations with an audience of writers, poets, and readers. We encourage peer readership and constructive criticism for all of our members. Our motivation is simple -- creativity is a precious resource to be nurtured and the results of the creative process can grow into something beautiful when shared. All writing you share with us remains your property. Come check us out on Brigits Flame Writing Community on Wordpress and be sure to follow our activity on Brigits Flame on facebook, Brigits Flame on tumblr, or Brigits Flame on twitter. We are everywhere you are.
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4 Responses to Rewording Shakespeare: A Writing Game

  1. Translation to #2 – The sun came up.
    You want a little color? A little flair?
    — The sun came up, Yo.
    I can also do it as an homage to Breaking Bad,
    — “That’s the sunrise, Bitch.”
    And then there’s the night owl translation,
    — “unnnh”

    😉 I’ll spend some time and do it more seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Though I do not have any special love for the entire play, this prologue is one of my favorite bits of Shakespeare’s writing.

    “Two households, both alike in dignity,
    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
    From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
    Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
    From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
    A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
    Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
    Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
    The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
    And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
    Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
    Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
    The which if you with patient ears attend,
    What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
    (Romeo and Juliet, Prologue)”

    My version –
    In a city torn apart by the rivalry between two crime families. We have report today of a different kind of crime – somehow more tragic than the drive-bys and strategic executions. Two children of these warring clans have taken their own lives, seemingly in a suicide pact over a love affair and secret marriage that neither family would tolerate. Will this senseless tragedy bring an end to the violence in Verona? Or will it spark a renewed fever that brings the entire city to its knees?
    More at eleven.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Eadar Doodles + Cheese and commented:

    Come join the fun.

    Like

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