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To be or not to be like Shakespeare? #15secondshakespeare

By Jan Chloe A. Pojas, BA English Studies: Literature

A few months back, Shakespeare inspired a huge trend among some of our favorite actors and actresses all over social media platforms that went viral with the hashtag #15secondshakespeare.

The hashtag, in a nutshell is when nominated by their colleagues, actors render spoken word versions filled with drama and emotions of contemporary pop songs as if they came out from a Shakespearean text. The fun part is they get to nominate more.

The trend started when actor David Fynn, who gave a very menacing version of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme tune tagged Karen Gillan, Arthur Darvill, Minnie Driver, Phil Lewis and more to join in. Fynn started the trend when he made this post on Instagram 2 months ago and from then on, the line of performances it has inspired have been nothing but funny and entertaining. The #results were A+.

Here are some of the best Shakespeare-like renditions:


The video that started it all. David Fynn’s version of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Shakespeare style.

Here’s Amanda Abbington doing Pharell’s Happy and she’s nominated partner Martin Freeman (now that’ll be exciting!)

This is Mark Bonnar’s playful rendition of Psy’s Gangnam Style.

Stephen Moyer from True Blood covered The Jam’s Down in the Tube Station at Midnight. He calls himself the Bard of Woking.

EastEnders actress Nina Wadia Did It Again…Oops.

Reciting “I like big butts and I cannot lie” couldn’t be more dramatic than Matthew Mercer’s version.

Lastly, Phill Lewis killed it with his cover of Rapper’s Delight!

What more can one say? This proves that Shakespeare encompasses all forms even social media. It’s easy for us to associate Shakespeare in our daily lives for the mere reason that the idea of the Bard is so embedded in our culture. He is not just for textual influences, but also with style and manner of delivery. Truly, Shakespeare is a trademark.

Lazarus, Susanna. “Actors are reciting pop songs like Shakespeare and the results are incredible”. RadioTimes. 2015. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.

Hooton, Christopher. “Actors are reciting bad pop songs in the style of a Shakespearean monologue”. Independent UK. 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.

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