Selling Shakespeare to a wide audience is tough. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say most people are first exposed to Shakespeare in a dry English classroom with rote analysis and forced participation in an unstaged reading. That’s not the kind of environment that breeds lifelong admiration for the Bard.
When someone comes up with a great angle for selling Shakespeare’s work, I like to applaud them. The Great River Shakespeare Festival have done just that.
Their original comedy sketch called “The Real Housewives of Shakespeare” is funny. Take the terrible NJ cast’s disastrous first season dinner party and recast it with some of Shakespeare’s most memorable wives and lovers. Titania (feuding with lover Oberon over an orphan), Goneril (conniving married daughter of doomed King Lear), Queen Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother and the new king’s trophy wife), Juliet (of your worst two weeks of HS English class), and Lady MacBeth (of could have done it better without her husband fame) are all present. The blend works well and builds to a nice comedic climax before the credits roll.
The video has just under 4000 views right now. It’s also a promotional video for a two play Shakespeare summer season in Minnesota and only got published yesterday. That’s pretty good for reaching a small market. Let’s see if we can build more of an audience for it.
Shakespeare fans of the world unite. The only thing you have to lose is the silly notion that Shakespeare is stuffy and inaccessible. Share the video with your friends and family and convert some new fans. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be transcribing this for students to perform at a local Shakespeare festival next school year.
What do you think? Is The Real Housewives of Shakespeare a keeper? I’d love to see a short run web series, to be honest. Then they can bring in Ophelia and Desdemona and really stir up trouble. Sound off below with your own thoughts.