Spicy Shakespeare | Fit for a Fool

By September 26, 2015 No Comments

Have you seen this, this week? It’s a video in which actors attempt to recite Shakespeare’s line after eating some super spicy chillies. It’s Shakespeare with more milk, sweat, and intensity than you’ve ever seen him.

And from the small but spicy domain of chillies, to the large and piggy. The question no-one thought to ask about Hamlet: was he fat? The evidence is in the lines of the play itself, or so this article suggests:

The most straightforward way to figure out whether Hamlet is fat is to look at the text itself, in which Hamlet’s own mother calls him fat. During the play’s final sword duel, King Claudius turns to Queen Gertrude and says that Hamlet will win the duel, and Gertrude replies, “He’s fat and scant of breath,” before turning to Hamlet and telling him to “take my napkin, rub thy brows.”

Before noting its limitations.. Fat might even mean sweaty here. The article also points us towards Levy-Navarro’s article on Hamlet and his fatness which you can check out here. Obesity and Shakespeare–who’d have thought they’d overlap?

Fitzgerald (as in F. Scott) probably isn’t someone who immediately jumps to mind when you’re thinking of Shakespeare, but did you know that Fitzgerald recorded himself reading Shakespeare? Better yet, you too can listen to Gatsby’s creator reciting Shakespeare’s lines. Check it out here.

Because it wouldn’t be a foolery column without a Shakespeare quiz, here’s one that tests your knowledge of Shakespearean English (or at least the English of his period).

Finally–and perhaps the most exciting Shakespeare foolery story of the week–is #15secondShakespeare. Have you heard about it? This one kicked it off. Think Shakespeare meets Prince of Bel Air.

And many famous (and not so famous) have taken part. For the latest entries, have a look here. And here are a few more of my favourites.

There’s a Miley Cyrus meets Shakespeare take…

WRECKING BALL – #15secondshakespeare #wreckingball #mileycyrus – @mileycyrus – @blackdirttheater #bdthamlet @davidfynnn

A video posted by Thomas Bonneville (@tjbonneville) on

This one links the #15secondShakespeare not only with Frozen (sorry for the ear worm) but also with raising money for the Red Cross (to help the refugee crisis).

And then there’s one of Ag-a-doo-doo-doo.. Obviously.

#15secondshakespeare #dramateacherfromhell @davidfynnn #Bardatbedtime

A video posted by Amy Hubbard (@amyhubcast) on

Have you taken part either on Instagram or Twitter? Do get in touch with your very own #15secondShakespeare–feel free to tweet me (@srawaters) or direct to the Shakespeare Standard Twitter account (don’t forget the hashtag).

That’s all 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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