“Shakespeares” in a Typical Day for a 19-Year-Old Guy Who’s Not into Shakespeare That Much (Yet).
By: Cedrick C. Cabaluna, BA English Studies: Language
University of the Philippines – Diliman
Disclaimer: All photos and videos are not mine.
Growing up, I wasn’t really exposed to Shakespeare’s plays. I was into reading books though. Being the socially introverted person that I was, I’d rather read books in a silent corner than mingle with children of my age. Eventually, even I was also able to make friends albeit of different interests. I wasn’t really sure what my contemporaries were into, but slowly, I began to assimilate a more conventional way of spending one’s time (as a teenage male). I’ve been accustomed to it ever since, but I didn’t lose my earlier passion for literature. Now that I am studying Shakespeare in a more intensive (and extensive) manner, I recollect how I first encountered the works of Shakespeare, endearing them to me. Although I’m still not that into “some old guy who wrote plays once”, here are some transmedial “shakespeares” that I like and are interesting enough to not make this blog post a chore to do or to read (at least for 21st century teenagers who have 10-minute attention spans—at best).
1. Gemini – Sponge Cola (Romeo and Juliet)
Sponge Cola is a Filipino band known for their poetic lyric-scheme. The lyrics are great. I used to listen to this all time when I was in high school; it was great inspiration for me to learn playing the drums. I highly recommend that you listen to it yourself. Although the lyrics are quite vague and doesn’t explicitly refer to Romeo and Juliet, the music video showing Romeo and Juliet is highly complemented by the music. Just remembering this song makes me feel nostalgic.
2. Manga and Anime (Romeo and Juliet)
I know that some of the posts here in this blog have already talked about manga and anime, but these two are integral parts of my daily life that I can’t help but include it here even though it may seem repetitive.
I’ve consumed so many manga and anime that have included a subplot where a play is organized by the main characters. And that play of course is one of Shakepeare’s. The subplot has been so common throughout a large variety of manga and anime that it has already become a trope and one would be hard-pressed to find a slice-of-life genre work without a Shakespeare play.
Here are some of which I’ve just recently encountered.
The World God Only Knows
Koi to Uso
As you can see, mostly Romeo and Juliet. Because clearly all teenagers have raging hormones that they can’t just help but feed off the permutations of the same thing again, and again. . . and again.
3. DOTA and LoL (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet)
Please excuse me as I procrastinate over the completion of this blog post. This blog post, albeit short, was almost two weeks in the making. And the very important reason for this delay is: I was squandering my time watching an international DOTA tournament. If you are unfamiliar with DOTA, it is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). MOBA is “a subgenre of the real-time strategy (RTS) genre of video games, in which a player controls a single character in one of two teams. The objective is to destroy the opposing team’s main structure with the assistance of periodically spawned computer-controlled units that march forward along set paths. Player characters typically have various abilities and advantages that improve over the course of a game and that contribute to a team’s overall strategy.” That’s a mouthful. Thanks Wikipedia. I started playing this game when I was in 2nd grade, and back then it was all just for fun and games. It helped me a lot in making friends throughout high school, and winning was solely for bragging rights. But now as e-games blossom and is now considered as a legitimate sports in many countries, tournaments with large prize pools are becoming common. The biggest of this e-games events is the annual The International. The International Dota 2 Championships 2015, its 5th annual edition, was held in KeyArena in Seattle which has a total seating capacity of over 17,000. It features 16 teams fighting for a prize pool of $18,429,613. Now enough of the intro. How do all of these connect to Shakespeare? Well, the critical character that was used in two different “The International” finals and won the game is Shakespeare-inspired. A character going by the name of Puck.
The resemblance is uncanny.
Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare’s play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Mischievous and playful, very much like the character Puck in DOTA. Other references include the way Puck speaks; he sports a very Shakespearean vocabulary that you’d need a dictionary to understand everything he’s saying, and one of his responses when he dies include “A midsummer nightmare.”, which is an obvious allusion to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. And as if those weren’t enough, Puck speaks in iambic pentameter which you can listen to in this youtube vid.
Another popular MOBA is League of Legends or LoL. It also has a Shakespeare-inspired character: Yorick. Its namesake, Yorick, is the dead court jester whose skull is exhumed by the gravedigger in Act 5, Scene 1, of the play, Hamlet.
Yorick from LoL has a gravedigger theme.
And that’s all I can impart for this post. Please excuse me as I spend my time doing other useless things a sluggish teenager would do.