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Author Topic: Merging Steampunk with Shakespeare  (Read 548 times)
Sorontar
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« on: December 29, 2014, 07:11:03 am »

Having read the thread on plot ideas, I had a thought. An old favourite is to relocate Shakespeare's plays to a new scenario, but telling the same old tale. Could the same be done, but by merging Shakespeare with old or new steampunk tales and characters?

Maybe:
  • "Hamlet" and "Frankenstein"?
  • "Julius Caesar" and "20 thousand leagues under the sea"?
  • "Macbeth" and "Jekyll and Hyde"?
  • "Romeo and Juliet" and "Dracula"?

Any thoughts on how these might work, or any other combinations?

Sorontar
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Will Howard
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2014, 07:58:25 am »

Having read the thread on plot ideas, I had a thought. An old favourite is to relocate Shakespeare's plays to a new scenario, but telling the same old tale. Could the same be done, but by merging Shakespeare with old or new steampunk tales and characters?

Maybe:
  • "Hamlet" and "Frankenstein"?
  • "Julius Caesar" and "20 thousand leagues under the sea"?
  • "Macbeth" and "Jekyll and Hyde"?
  • "Romeo and Juliet" and "Dracula"?

Any thoughts on how these might work, or any other combinations?

Sorontar

"20.000 Legions Under the Sea" about the leader of Roman Navy Seals with imperial ambitions?

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walking stick
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2014, 09:53:51 am »

Romeo and Juliet and Dracula
She's dead, as dead as urrgh!
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Inflatable Friend
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2014, 11:08:11 am »

The Tempest and Jekyll and Hyde..
 
Prospero is Caliban...
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Will Howard
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2014, 06:23:48 pm »

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" & "Jack the Ripper".  A man with an asses head mutilates people.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2014, 10:49:44 pm »

I have seen this done in a couple of ways:

The original Shakespeare play is performed as written but with an alternative aesthetic, in fact this is quite common, so a steampunk aesthetic is totally possible. A few years back I saw Romeo and Juliet with a definite steampunk overtone including music provided by the steamy tango orchestra "Astillero".

The alternative is to write a completely new play (or more often musical) based on the Shakespearean story and characters but with language adapted to the performed genre. So we had Kiss Me Kate based on The Taming of the Shrew and West Side Story from Romeo And Juliet and so on...

I think once you change beyond those parameters, it is no longer Shakespeare. So, given the few Steampunk characterisations, I would start there and then find the Shakespeare play that most approximates to it. So, which play best approximates to Dracula? Hamlet with vampires? Does it work? And what about Frankenstein? Could you place Lady Macbeth in the role of Frankenstein, creating a monster out of her husband, which she then commands to do her dirty work? I struggle to understand the plot and the meaning behind 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea so whether The Tempest might be a suitable vehicle I doubt, but the aesthetic might be made to work.

Effective mash ups are very difficult to carry off without destroying what it is that makes the original great.

Good idea though - I look forward to learning much!

 
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2014, 01:08:54 am »

As one of the offenders on this thread, shouldn't "Merging" be changed to "Mangling"?
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walking stick
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 09:19:30 am »

I believe the current usage is Steampunk Shakespeare Mash up.
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Sorontar
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 02:30:52 pm »

Oh, I don't mind if you mangle, merge or mash the original story. I was thinking of things like
  • Jekyll and Hyde being Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, where one transforms into the other, with the change in guilt and ambitions, but other characters being none the wiser
  • Frankenstein's monster being Hamlet, reflecting on the world of man being but a show and him being but a prop in someone-else's scene
  • maybe Caesar Nemo, making his plans for the better good of all, but his crew ganging up against him

After all, if we can have "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies", why can't we have the "Journey to the Center of the Earth" version of Othello or The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Sorontar
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