Nu Sass’s fall show, a remount of our audience-acclaimed 43 ½: The Greatest Deaths of Shakespeare’s Tragedies opens next week at the Capital Fringe’s Logan Fringe Arts Space. To help properly convey the gravitas and solemnity of this celebration of one of the most esteemed poets and playwrights in the English language, in this the year of the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, Nu Sass has taken time to write down some of our thoughts on one of the most pressing questions on everyone’s mind this Halloween season…
SHOULD I FIGHT THIS SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGIC CHARACTER?
Don’t fight Hamlet. I know he looks like a whiny, prissy little emo boy that you could knock over with a sigh, but this boy knows a hawk from a handsaw. He’s smarter than you and dealing with both daddy and mommy issues, so there’s a lot of pent up rage in there. You’ll go in thinking this is an easy win and be knocked on your ass while he muses about the state of human existence before you have time to blink. Don’t fight Hamlet.
What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t fight Ophelia! I mean, yeah, you could win, but – Ophelia? Really? Sweet child never did anybody wrong in her whole damn life, and she’s got a powerful dad and a pissy brother to boot. Let alone her aforementioned boyfriend who’ll drag you like, oh, a stream drags down heavy garments. Don’t fight Ophelia. Leave her alone to pick her flowers.
Macbeth’s a seasoned warrior and has several different pointy objects on him at any given time, but if you get him musing on the nature of good and evil or ask him if he sees that dagger in the air right behind him, you can probably distract him enough to get a good shot in. But be careful – you’re not just dealing with the Lord when you’re fighting Macbeth…
Do. Not. Fight. Lady. Macbeth. This boss ass bitch will murder you in your sleep without breaking a nail or a sweat. She will come at you like a serpent beneath a flower. This chick will straight up murder her children if she thinks it’ll maybe help her get ahead. She will end you before you can say “Out, damn spot.” Do not fight Lady Macbeth.
Oh yeah, totally fight Romeo. He’s as constant as the moon, and will probably be your best friend and love you as dearly as his own family before the day is done, so why not take a swing while you wait? Heck, you probably don’t even need to fight Romeo. He’ll just get into one of his Justin Bieber mood swings and off himself before the week is out. Just don’t mess with his friends. That’s when he gets nasty.
Fight Juliet, but be prepared to get your ass kicked. Juliet may be thirteen but this child is absolutely not messing around. She’s wild. She’ll pull a knife on you, or poison herself, or burn her whole house’s legacy to the ground – and she’s doing it because of hormones, so that’s EXTRA cray. Girl will do whatever it takes to get what she wants, when she wants it, how she wants it. Fight Juliet, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Don’t fight Paris. His life is terrible enough anyway. All he wants to do is marry a nice girl from a nice family. (Okay, she’s like thirteen, but … you know, different era. Look, we think it’s creepy too, okay? Blame Shakespeare.) He has to listen to Capulets bitching at him all day, his best prospect is half his age, his life is shitty enough already, he doesn’t need you beating him up. Don’t fight Paris.
No, go ahead. Fight Tybalt. As we can see from his play, that’ll totally end well for you. Please fight Tybalt.
Please see above re: TYBALT.
Oh please, please fight Iago. Little punk ass conniving bitch. He should have the stuffing kicked out of him at least once a day, maybe then he wouldn’t be always playing the villain. (Dude, YES, YOU TOTALLY DO PLAY THE VILLAIN. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, YOUR ‘WHO, ME?’ IS NOT A STOCK ANYONE IS BUYING.)
Go for it. He’s busy being moon eyed over Cleo anyway. He’d give up his kingdom, his titles, his wife, anything just to be by Egypt’s side. Heck, you wouldn’t even have to fight him. Just whisper in his ear Cleo isn’t feeling well and he’ll probably go all Romeo and do it himself.
Bro, don’t fight Cleopatra. Not only does she literally have an entire country at her disposal at any given moment, but the moment you went at her Antony would beat the snot out of you. Doesn’t matter where the hell you are. Instant you engage – boom. Antony. Right there. And on his own he’s a pushover, but if Cleo’s involved, it ain’t gonna be pretty. Don’t fight Cleopatra.
If you’re gonna take on Caesar, I suggest you bring your 22 closest friends to do it (43 and ½ of you would definitely be able to get the job done). Because if you try to go mano a mano with this boss you will find yourself taking on the reckoning faster than a bootless man kneeling can beg for pardon. Did anyone ever hear back from Cimber after he pissed Caesar off? I didn’t think so. Don’t fight Caesar.
Oh yeah, totally fight Cassius. Cassius is that really macho pot-stirrer who talks a big game about taking things outside if you brush up against him in a bar, but the moment you get him out to the parking lot he starts whining about how you two aren’t really bros anymore and the whole thing dissolves into a PBR-fueled comfort fest. You should be the one to actually beat the snot out of him. Fight Cassius.
Don’t fight Brutus. Not because he’s one of Rome’s best warriors – he is – but like, this guy has it bad enough as it is. It’s like kicking a stoic puppy. It’s not worth “Et tu”. Don’t fight Brutus.
Maybe not the best idea to fight a man who will kill one of his (many, many) kids at the drop of a hat and cut off his own hand like it ain’t no thang. Yeah, he now has only one hand left, but he could use said hand to drain you of all your blood and turn your bones to dust, and subsequently make a pie out of both. But hey, your call.
Are you freaking kidding me right now? DON’T FIGHT LAVINIA. She literally has no hands. You’re a bad, bad person and should feel very ashamed of yourself. You know the kind of person who tries to take on Lavinia? The kind who deserves to have a sit down dinner with Titus afterward, that’s who.
What do you think? Did we get it right? If you disagree with us, we invite you to come say so to our face at any of our performances. (Bring a second.) Even better – come see all these characters brawl, poison, stab, and snake their way to their grisly ends with Nu Sass next week.
43 ½: The Greatest Deaths of Shakespeare’s Tragedies opens next week at the Logan Fringe Arts Space and runs October 20th – November 11th: Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 2:30 PM. Click here to for tickets to see all the above classic deaths and so many more!
Guest writer Angela Kay Pirko is a DC-based actor and director who has worked in film and theatre in DC and New York. She is the Co-Producer and Resident Director for Nu Sass Productions, and Founder and producer for Gooseberry Productions.