We all have our “off days”—days we’re feeling tired, uninspired, perpetually hungry, apathetic, pissed at the world. Shakespeare must have had them, too, days he just thought, Screw it, I’m taking it a nap. But what if, instead of taking a nap, he’d written a play then? Like, a really lazy, I-don’t-give-a-sh*t kind of play. Here are the plays Shakespeare might have written, if he’d had more of those days, or maybe also if he’d been friends with Jeff Spicoli.
Romeo and Juliet: The Montagues and Capulet families are old friends who’ve always hoped Romeo and Juliet would one day date and marry—so everyone’s thrilled when they start dating…until they break up, amicably, because they both just feel like they’re too young to settle down.
Hamlet: Hamlet thought his father was poisoned, but an autopsy reveals it was actually liver cancer. Hamlet takes this early, undetected illness as impetus to revamp his life—he starts working out, eating well, gives up drinking, and lives a long, happy life.
Macbeth: Macbeth learns in grade school that ambition can be destructive and awful, so he works hard from an early age to squash his own ambitious yearnings and ends up settling down with an entirely different, kinder Lady Macbeth.
The Tempest: Prospero’s magic fails him: instead of conjuring a storm, he conjures a million monarch butterflies, which adorn the island for a few days.
Midsummer Night’s Dream: Hermia’s father is actually super progressive and lets her choose her own husband. She chooses Lysander, leaving Demetrius for Helena. Meanwhile, in the fairy world, Oberon also turns out to be a pretty chill and progressive dude who doesn’t mind that Tatiana has refused him one request. Everyone lives happily ever after.
Othello: Othello listens calmly and rationally as Desdemona explains that she did not give Iago her handkerchief, again professes her undying love for Othello, they make up, Iago is sent away to fight, and Othello and Desdemona have a large, happy family.
King Lear: King Lear immediately sees that his daughters Regan and Goneril are being false and flattery him with their overwrought exclamations of love. He praises Cordelia for her modesty and love, gives her his kingdom, banishes the other two, and lives a peaceful life under Cordelia’s reign.
Twelfth Night: Viola and Sebastian’s ship docks safely in the harbor. They meet Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia as themselves—undisguised—and Orsino falls in love with Viola, just as Sebastian falls for Olivia. They buy adjacent houses.
Taming of the Shrew: Katherina isn’t as “shrewish” as her reputation implies. She’s actually pretty pleasant; she and Petruchio get along well right away.
Julius Caesar: No one wants to kill Caesar. So they don’t.
Antony and Cleopatra: Antony and Cleopatra aren’t world leaders, but rather two fun-loving and attractive civilians who meet near a pyramid while visiting Egypt. They have a long and loving relationships.
As You Like It: Frederick, Rosalind’s mean uncle, dies suddenly of a heart attack, restoring Rosalind’s father to his rightful position of Duke. Celia and Rosalind meet Oliver and Orlando shortly thereafter. They go on lots of double dates.
Let’s follow Will’s lead and have a nap, shall we?