'Nice Play, Shakespeare!'

2015-12-25-1451055873-6568222-250pxShakespeare.jpg
Remember "Nice play,Shakespeare!" You'd say it to someone when they'd flubbed up. Makes you wonder if anyone ever said it to Shakespeare himself, say when he committed a faux pas. Also makes you wonder whether Shakespeare would have gotten the joke, Was he self-involved enough to think that he was simply being praised for one of his masterpieces? An example of this might have been a situation where Shakespeare broke a floorboard at the Globe on the night of a scheduled performance of Twelfth Night. One of his techs could easily have said "Nice play, Shakespeare," to express their annoyance at the clumsiness of their boss. It might even has simply come off as a bit of good natured chiding of the kind that Shakespeare would have endured if there'd been a WHCA (White House Correspondents' Association) annual dinner back in Elizabethan times--which he'd been invited to attend. Horatio might have said "Nice, play Shakespeare," when Hamlet stabbed Polonius who was hiding behind the arras, but the self-conscious reference to the author of the play might have fucked with Coleridge's "willing suspension of disbelief." The case of Hamlet is even more complicated, for if you said "Nice play, Shakespeare" to Shakespeare and he was too narcissistic to get the sarcasm, he still wouldn't know which play you were talking about Hamlet, or the play within the play, The Mousetrap. Your average Joe has an advantage in this regard. He doesn't have to worry about being Shakespeare and he knows he's screwed up when someone says, "Nice play, Shakespeare!"

portrait of Shakespeare (notice the earring)

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}