Planning a joint venture with New York's Lincoln Center, London's Royal Shakespeare Company has announced a three month series of performances, where the famous bard's words will be delivered via text messages instead of voice.
The actors will still regale their audiences in full costume and with an extravagant set behind them, but all of Shakespeare's words will be interpreted into shortened texts, with more animated physical movement to enhance the prose. As explained by producer Hyrum Bairley-Sentient, "The famous line, 'The Lady doth protest too much' would be Twittered as 'Da Ldy dth rgue 2 mch, LOL', while the actress stomps her foot wildly on stage. It's an experiment in bringing Shakespeare to the younger masses in a communication medium they are comfortable with".
Critics are enraged at what they call, "The bastardization of great oratory". Times entertainment editor, P. Enos Limpnoodle says, "Shakespeare is prose and poetry and artful verbal exchange. The tone and inflection in the performance is critical to understanding the play. A silent performance based on actors texting lines to their audience? Sacrilege!"
Supporters of the new-age performance style stand behind Bairley-Sentient's vision. "I mean, who comes to listen to this archaic way of speaking today? Nobody. It needs to be freshened up for the 20-somethings to digest", says audience member, Harry Noggins. Others apparently agree.
The house has been packed with mostly silent attendees, all with cell phones and keypads at the ready. The performance is animated to some degree but the actors do keep the text messages flowing with comedic acronyms thrown in to get a laugh from the crowd. "It is, after all, another form of entertainment", says Noggins. "Where else can you mix Shakespeare with new age communications like ROTFLMAO and WTF?"
Indeed. The show titled, "Shakespeare on Twitter" runs through the end of May.