A Shared Universe of Shakespeare Characters
February 26, 2015 3:14 PM   Subscribe

Has there been one besides the comic "Kill Shakespeare"?

I was thinking about "shared cinematic universes," in the vein of the recent Marvel movies. Seems like we've got something similar for:

- Grimm's fairy tales (Grimm)
- Storybook characters/Disney films (Once Upon a Time)
- Universal monsters (coming soon)
- Star Wars (coming soon)

And I was thinking about all the great characters and plots from Shakespeare. Could they all exist in one story, or a series of stories?

I searched Google and came up with the graphic novel series Kill Shakespeare which pits (some of?) the "good" characters -- Othello, Juliet, Hamlet -- against the "bad" ones -- Iago, Richard III, Lady Macbeth.

Is there any other example? There are lots of interesting plots and interactions I'd like to see. Putting all the women together would make for a fun conversation. It would also be cool to see how the magical characters interact: Puck, Macbeth's witches, Prospero.

It might be difficult when it comes to the histories, as Richard II and Henry IV and Henry VI couldn't all be king of England at the same time. But the ancient stories could co-exist with the 16th-century plays, since they "really" take place in Shakespeare's Renaissance; does anyone picture the characters of A Midsummer Night's Dream in ancient Athenian clothes?

Anyway, does such an idea exist outside of the one comic? And can you think of interesting encounters between Shakespeare characters, liberated from their own plays?
posted by Flying Saucer to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Just with regard to your final question about interesting encounters between Shakespeare characters liberated from their own plays, the fourth Thursday Next novel has this story element:
Thursday and Friday return to her mother (Wednesday) in Swindon, with Hamlet who is accompanying them on an excursion to the "Outland" to find out what people in the real world think of him ... On top of this, she is visited by tearful agents from the Bookworld (Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Emperor Zhark) who tell her that all sorts of things are going wrong without her leadership; for starters, without its titular character, the play Hamlet has merged with The Merry Wives of Windsor creating a new play called "The Merry Wives of Elsinore", which is not nearly as good as either original play (in the words of Emperor Zhark, "it takes a long time to get funny, and, when it finally does, everyone dies").
posted by Monsieur Caution at 3:58 PM on February 26, 2015

The only thing that comes to mind is The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, but I am not sure if the characters interact with each other.
posted by Elly Vortex at 5:00 PM on February 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Enchanted Island mixes together characters from The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
posted by Orinda at 7:07 PM on February 26, 2015

There's Ann-Marie MacDonald's play, Good Night Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet).
posted by ilana at 7:37 PM on February 26, 2015

You might also enjoy the work of the former Upstart Crow Theatre Group out of Toronto, who did a whole series of plays (Shakepeare's Sports Canon) mashing together characters from Shakespeare into things like sporting events (Shakespeare's World Cup, Rugby Wars, etc.)
posted by ilana at 7:41 PM on February 26, 2015

I don't remember to what extent they interacted with each other, but the 90's animated series Gargoyles had a hodgepodge of Shakespeare characters -- though, if memory serves, there were interactions between Puck and Macbeth's witches.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:56 AM on February 27, 2015

The Fool's Guild series of historical mysteries by Alan Gordon starts with Feste and Viola from Twelfth Night and brings in some other Shakespeare characters over the course of 8 books (so far).
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 9:55 AM on February 27, 2015

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