“The Merry Real Housewives of Windsor” and Other Modern Shakespearean Adaptations – Jen Mierisch

English teachers, do you despair of helping students connect with the classics? Are they more interested in TikTok and Insta than Troilus and Cressida? Show them these modern adaptations, brought to you in iambic pentameter by Fakespeare Productions. In two shakes of a knight’s codpiece, your teens will sound as educated as Elizabethan peasants!

  1. The Taming of the Screen Time
    In this lighthearted romp (a sequel to “404 Page Not Found: A Comedy of Errors”), Peter attempts a series of stunts to persuade the reluctant Kate to love him more than she loves her smartphone.

    ’Tis simpler, squeezing nectar from a stone,
    Than winning thy attention from thy phone!

    How now, dear Pete! What makes thee so uptight?
    I used this very tool to swipe thee right!
  2. Hamless, the Vegan Prince of Denmark
    In this tragic tale, Claudius, CEO of Elsinore Pharma, marries Prince Hamlet’s widowed mother, Gertrude. Hamlet’s father’s ghost tells Hamlet he was poisoned by tainted beef. Distraught, Hamlet reads obsessively about bovine growth hormones and swears off animal products. His concerned girlfriend, Ophelia, tries to tempt him with freshly cooked bacon, but he rejects her, declaring that henceforth he shall be called Hamless. Events escalate when Hamless hijacks a slideshow of Claudius and Gertrude’s honeymoon photos to play videos from “truther” conspiracy theorists.

    Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio.
    I wager he died of poisoned poultry, ho!

    But Yorick’s end was plain to all with eyes.
    He choked on bread and thus met his demise.

    Friend, wake up, seek truth, be not a sheep.
    Big Pharma wants you dumb and e’er asleep.
  3. The Merry Real Housewives of Windsor
    In Season 2 of this television dramedy, notorious gigolo John Falstaff visits Windsor, looking for backers for his tech startup. As Falstaff presses the flesh at society parties, Mrs. Page and Mrs. Ford complain about him to their fellow housewives. They declare that there’s only one thing worse than a male cheapskate (like last season’s guest, Tight-Ass Andronicus): a male gold-digger. When Falstaff sends lewd text messages to both women, attempting to seduce cash out of them, they orchestrate a series of pranks to get revenge.

    Mrs. Page:
    ’Tis not enough to take our husbands’ gold;
    This villain thinks that we’ll be bought and sold?
    His swollen ego, loosed by some magician,
    Could swallow up this town like Wandavision!

    Mrs. Ford:
    Fear not, dear Page, and ne’er admit defeat,
    For we shall be the death of his conceit.
    See here, my hidden camera in the hickory.
    By my troth, the world shall see his trickery!
  4. Two Gentlemansplainers of Verona
    In this Netflix miniseries, two buddies from Verona, N.J., Vinny and Pablo, piss off their girlfriends, Julia and May, after the boys jokingly present a feminine perspective on dating. Facing a boring summer with no girls, the boys accept a trip to Milan with Vinny’s rich uncle Bruno. There, they meet local babes Sylvia and Veronica (actually Julia in disguise), who school them in how to properly respect a woman.

    ’Tis true, my utterance may have been unwise.
    But oh, that May is candy for the eyes!

    Sir, you shall die a poor frustrated satyr,
    Until you love her mind over her matter.


    Enjoyed Fakespeare? Don’t miss the modern 19th-century classic about a single woman who freezes her eggs: Madame Ovary.

Jen Mierisch’s first job was at a public library, where her boss frequently caught her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. Her work can be found in Fiction on the Web, Funny Pearls, Little Old Lady (LOL) Comedy, and elsewhere. Jen can be found haunting her local library near Chicago, USA. Read more at www.jenmierisch.com.

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