Monday, April 18, 2016

Shakespeare and My Stories

According to Goodreads, this is the start of Shakespeare Week. Goodreads has some activities planned on their site, but they didn't appeal to me. Instead, I thought it would be more interesting to talk about how Shakespeare has influenced my work.

Shakespeare borrowed many of his plots, and in turn many other writers have borrowed his plays and lines. One way to borrow a play is to transfer it to a different setting. Twinned Universes takes Hamlet to a spaceship traveling through a wormhole to a parallel universe. The protagonist, Paul Harrison, is a young actor who dreams of playing Hamlet some day and quotes constantly from Shakespeare. When Paul's mother dies, he's convinced his great-uncle is behind the death, even though his friends and family think him a little mad for doing so. They even want him to see a psychiatrist, Dr. Rose Stern. (Yes, that name is a deliberate reference to Rosenkrnatz and Guildenstern.) How does Paul plan to test his suspicion? Why, by staging a play to catch "the conscience of the king," of course. Does Paul's story end in tragedy like Hamlet's? You'll have to read Twinned Universes to find out.

I'm not sure if Romeo and Juliet is more famous or popular than Hamlet, but it's definitely a very well-known play. In "Letters to Psyche," I explored the history between the two feuding families and brought Cupid and Psyche into the mix. An earlier romance between the Montagues and Capulets goes awry, and Cupid learns much about humans as the curse affects generations of the two families.

Sometimes it's good to get away from tragedy and enjoy a little comedy, as I did with a Beatles fanfic story called (I think) "A Hard Midsummer's Night." The Beatles actually performed a skit from the play "A Midsummer Night's Dream." You can catch it on YouTube:

My story had the Fab Four tangling with the fairies from the play--with some not so fab results. I think this appeared in an issue of Indie Writers Monthly, which no longer seems to be available. Maybe when I revive my mailing list, I can share this story with subscribers as a bonus.

Do you love or loathe Shakespeare? Even if you don't like the original plays, are there pop culture references to Shakespeare that you like? Feel free to share them in the comments.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's a shame he didn't write more comedies. Much Ado About Nothing has always been my favorite.

Sandra Almazan said...

Alex, I enjoy the banter in that play and have it on DVD.

Pat Dilloway said...

I've liked some Shakespeare like Rommeo and Juliet and Merchant of Venice.

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