On the occasion of our man William Shakespeare’s birthday (or christening day…or at the very least something close to when he was born sometime at the end of April), we thought we rev up the old Literary Transgressions Time Machine to pose some questions to everyone’s favorite Bard. Admittedly, he was a little surprised at our sudden appearance, but once he adjusted to our shocking attire and modern vocabulary, he was right with us and happily agreed to answer our questions. Check out what he had to say:
Literary Transgressions (LT): Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Mr. Shakespeare.
William Shakespeare (WS): Where did you get those ingenious breeches?
LT: We’ll be asking the questions, thank you very much.
WS: Right, of course…You said you’re from Blog? Is that near Ipswich?
LT: No we are a blog, it’s not a place. Now, focus! We’re here to interview you.
LT: So, tell us honestly: did you expect your work to still be read 400 years after it was first performed?
WS: Yes. No doubts in my mind. (pause) You’re from the future, then?
LT: You’re very easily distracted for one of the greatest writers of all time.
WS: Well, it’s always one thing or another at the Globe. If it isn’t Burbage being unable to pronounce “Elsinore” properly, it’s some fire in the trap door or that damned jester tumbling into the set and braking things. It’s right hard to concentrate on anything!
LT: Ah, yes, I could see how that would be trying for you.
LT: So what happened with the Christopher Sly subplot in The Taming of the Shrew?
WS: The who? Honestly, I don’t remember writing that bit. Are you sure that’s mine?
LT: That’s definitely one of your plays.
WS: Ah, well! I can’t be expected to remember all of my brilliant plots at a moment’s notice!
LT: Is it possible you didn’t write it, given the rumors about the authorship of your plays?
WS: Writing is a collaborative process.
LT: That was rather politic of you to say.
WS: It’s the truth.
LT: Does that mean you didn’t write your plays?
WS: Don’t be absurd! The plays are more or less written by me.
LT: “More or less?!”–
WS: It’s the sonnets you should be wondering about.
LT: Whoa, spoiler-alert!
WS: “Spoiler alert”?
(At this point the interview was interrupted by the arrival of Christopher Marlowe who barged in, apparently rather the worse for a drink. Despite his inebriated state, Mr. Marlowe consented to take part in the interview as well.)
LT: We were just discussing the authorship of Mr. Shakespeare’s plays, Mr. Marlowe.
Christopher Marlowe (CM): Me!
LT: Beg pardon?
CM: I wrote them!
LT: Well, that’s certainly one theory…
CM: I wrote all the plays! Every last play! Ever!
LT: I see…
WS: There’s really no use talking to him when he gets like this. He can’t hold his drink in the slightest. He’s very delicate.
CM: I WROTE THE PLAYS!
WS: Of course you did.
LT: Right…We just have one more question for you, Mr. Shakespeare: Really, which of your plays is your favorite? And which character?
WS: An excellent question! (pauses to mull it over) What do you think, Kit? Do you have a favorite play from my canon?
CM: Tamburlaine the Great!
WS: You wrote that, you goose.
CM: Since I wrote them all, it is extremely *hic* difficult to keep them separate in my mind, ole Shakey.
LT: You call him that too?!
WS: Kit, you can be the most awful wretch whose natural gifts are poor.
CM: Harsh words from the false *hic* playmaster!
WS: It’s a playwright, Kit! God, you’re impossible.
CM: I WROTE THE PLAYS!
LT: So no favorite play then?
WS: Ah, yes…Well, I’m rather fond of As You Like It actually. I think I did a very good job with that one and I do love a good case of mistaken identity to get the plot rolling!
LT: That you do!
WS: Although The Tempest was also a beautiful swansong to my life and career in the theater. Brings a tear to my eye, that.
LT: So The Tempest can be read autobiographically!
WS: Please. Prospero and I are but two names for one spirit.
LT: I knew it!
WS: As to my favorite character, well, that’s more difficult…Maybe the Ghost in Hamlet?
CM: Egotistical twit!
WS: Oh, what now…
CM: You only like the damned ghost because you played–
WS: –because of his enormous literary merit and pretty costume, yes, you’re quite right, Kit. I love a good flowing gown for those sorts of characters. Don’t you?
LT: Um, yes, I suppose…Well, that’s about it from our end. Thank you for your time, Mr. Shakespeare.
WS: My pleasure! Kit’s, too.
CM: I wrote every play…
WS: Of course, pumpkin.