Shakespeare & ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ | Fit for a Fool

By March 13, 2015 No Comments

Hello foolery lovers, and welcome to this week’s fix of Shakespearean foolery. You’re in for some treats!

My favourite this week was a post which came from The Toast entitled: How to tell if you are in a Shakespearean comedy. It’s brilliant and takes many of the classic plot lines of Shakespeare’s comedies and offers a handy checklist. For instance: do you have at least one friend called Antonio? Have you lost track of your twin…again? Or maybe you’ve just taken a look over your shoulder and you’re being pursued by a bear.

Shakespeare & 'Fifty Shades of Grey' | Fit for a Fool shakespeare news The Shakespeare Standard shakespeare plays list play shakespeare

Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man (2006)


And my favourite of them all: your ‘Pre-Pubescent Boy’ disguise is having the unnerving effect of attracting many ladies. Sound familiar Viola? Sorry, I mean Cesario! But there are many more, and it’s well worth having a look at the article. Who knows, you too could also be living in a Shakespearean comedy!


Are you a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey? I know, I know, I never thought I’d be mentioning that book in a Shakespeare column either, but if you are then you’re probably familiar with Dakota Johnson who plays the female lead in the recent movie. Perhaps more exciting from a Shakespearean perspective is her upcoming role in Cymbeline, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Sadly, the film itself is only on limited release in the US (13. March). But, as the iPad indicates, it is set in the modern day and looks like a really interesting reworking of one of, I think it’s fair to say, Shakespeare’s less popular plays. Here’s a clip of the movie, where of course star of Fifty Shades utters some lines of Shakespeare.


How about a Sci-Fi take on Shakespeare? No, I’m not talking about Forbidden Planet, but over on (a science fiction and fantasy blog magazine) their branching out to Shakespeare and first up is Julius Caesar, appropriate given the upcoming Ides of March. The first post in their Shakespeare series looks at the leanness of Julius Caesar and wonders what could be cut without losing meaning with references to X-Men, Batman, and even Guardians of the Galaxy. This snippet should give you a flavour of the post:

Caesar’s death was a turning point in Roman history and thus it is the turning point in the play itself. From here on in Julius Caesar it’s a downhill race into chaos. Seriously, you could encapsulate Acts 4 and 5 as: “Brutus: We are screwed and I am so sorry.” and “Antony: You are screwed and you are so sorry.”

What do you think? Are there scenes and moments that can easily be lost from Julius Caesar or are you a traditionalist and want it all to stay?


As usual there’s a Shakespeare quiz to check out this week, this time it’s from The Guardian, and it’s Shakespeare and The Simpsons. When I say Shakespeare and The Simpsons, the Shakespeare link is very tenuous indeed, and given the upcoming reburial of Richard III, he’s the popular link in the quiz. That said, it should still fill and empty Shakespeare coffee break slot!


Shakespeare & 'Fifty Shades of Grey' | Fit for a Fool shakespeare news The Shakespeare Standard shakespeare plays list play shakespeare

Postell Pringle as Othello in Othello: the Remix

Are you into rap? How about if the rap is Othello themed? Well you’re in luck because rappers from Chicago have done just that. Admittedly it’s more comic than tragic and sees Othello hitting the top of the charts with a hip-hop hit (try saying that fast). The cast is all male with wigs employed for the female parts. As the article points out these actors-cum-rappers are convincing.


They don’t look like your average hip-hop artists, but they certainly sound the part. Think Will Smith in his rapping days meets Jay Z crossed with the Beastie Boys. The villain Iago has the same gravely voice as Eminen, with the same mad glint in his eye.

To find out more about the Othello production in Abu Dhabi read the article here.


That’s almost it for this week, but since the Ides of March are fast approaching, I’ll leave you with this tumblr devoted to all such things, including marshmallows and Mean Girls.

But that’s a (w)rap for now foolery lovers. Until next time, keep foolin’ around, Shakespeare style.

Author Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters is a PhD student at Oxford Brookes University, England where she is currently researching female melancholia in the early modern period (as presented in Shakespearean and early modern drama and proto-medical treatises) and contemporary female depression. She is interested in all things Shakespeare related, particularly contemporary Shakespeare adaptation and appropriation.

More posts by Sarah Waters

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