Journal Entry: Surprise Twists in Shakespeare Plays

Journal entry, 19 Frimaire 225: For the past three years, Minotaur has served as a volunteer associate dramaturg at the Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster Memorial Theatre in the town of Glee Falls. Yesterday he submitted to the theater director a list of “surprise twists in Shakespeare plays” that he proposes the theater incorporate next season. A true and faithful transcript of that list appears below.


Hamlet unwittingly dips his rapier in a magical juice rather than poison. This has the effect of giving Claudius an unshavable neck beard.

Desdemona survives and becomes a modestly successful colporteur. Serving time in jail on an attempted murder conviction, Othello tries to make it up to her by mailing her shoehorns.

Shylock is loathed not for his religion but for practicing illegal dentistry.

The “Full of vexation come I, with complaint” soliloquy is performed from a three-quarter front position. This so disturbs the audience that two intermissions are necessary, meaning we can hopefully sell out of that expired guacamole at the snack desk.

Lear goes mad in a Bed Bath & Beyond over “an excess of choices in shower curtains.”

[works with any Shakespeare play] After describing to the audience how working in local theater is anything but a realization of their dreams, the cast take Quaaludes on stage–and are eventually joined by most of the audience.

The role of Juliet is portrayed by an Alaskan Malamute. Romeo’s interest in the dog is limited to wanting to use it in medical research. When the play ends, Juliet is grilled up and served to any homeless people in the vicinity.


Journal Entry: Matinee Performance of Lear

Journal entry, 2/22/14: Justice Minotaur has been depressed since the death the other night. “I miss Calrissian,” he has said again and again, which seems odd because he probably had not seen or talked to Calrissian for fifteen years before the other night. “Maybe it is the idea of Calrissian rather than Calrissian himself you miss–or maybe the fact that you had a friend with such a cool name,” Mr. Cornwall has offered in hopes of providing the justice some emotional relief.

Cornwall encouraged Minotaur to get outside today, to take his mind off the tragedy. “Let us go to the theater,” Minotaur declared.

The two went to a matinee performance of King Lear being put on by the volunteer militia. The primary roles were portrayed by the following actors:

Lear: Judah ben-Christian
Regan: Lequel Surprise
Goneril: Lequel Debris
Cordelia: Polyesther Cram
Gloucester: Ramses Du
Edgar: [the role was omitted from this performance]
Edmund: Corey Haim-Feldman
Kent: X. Cross Rubicons
Albany: Mumford and Son (not the band, but Cynm and Drill Mumford, a father and son combo who takes turns playing the role)
Cornwall: Percy Bysshe
Oswald: Nim Chimpsky II (a diabetic chimpanzee not related to his namesake who is trained to make sounds that in some cases mimic human language)
Fool: Dame Moonlight St. Graham

Minotaur has seen and read much of Shakespeare, but he seemed to become so immersed in the play as to forget that it was a performance rather than reality. When in Act IV the messenger informed Goneril and Albany of the death of Cornwall, Minotaur raced to the stage and punched the messenger in the face, then flew backstage looking for “the beloved carcass.” His bellowing voice was heard again and again from behind the back curtain, “Have I lost another friend?!” Finally, an off-duty police officer tased him into submission. Minotaur is now sleeping on the same sofa where Calrissian so recently expired.

Looking over a schedule of upcoming local events in the Trumpeting Beagle, Mr. Cornwall notices a play that, according to the “Notes from an Underemployed Dramaturg,” promises to be “witty and lighthearted” and that, it seems to Cornwall, cannot possibly have any drama tied up in it. In hopes of helping the justice forget his troubles, Cornwall will take Minotaur next weekend to Our American Cousin.