William Shakespeare

Date: 2006
Posted by: srowan
Credits: Created by Alex Mueller and Scott Rowan. A Row 1 Production
Cast: Scott Rowan (William Shakespeare), Jenna Johnson (Anne Hathaway), Callie Parks (Francis Bacon, Actress), Griffin Ransdell (Bully no. 1, Messenger), Alex Mueller (Bully no. 2, Actor), Bill Rowan (Papa Shakespeare), Sandy Rowan (School Teacher), random people (extras)
Duration: 11.33

We first encounter William Shakespeare in a modern day American small town setting. He is sitting on a bench, when a quill feather flutters down beside him. He tells his life story to a girl sitting on the next door bench, who initially ignores him. We learn that as a child he loved to read, and learned about his ancestor who fought in the Wars of the Roses (“I don’t know why anyone would want flowers that bad”). Encouraged by his sweetheart Anne Hathaway, William learns to write and write and write. He joins the Lord Chamberlain’s men acting troupe and marries Anne. Then his father dies, and William writes a play inspired by his father, which he will call Hamlet (named after his father’s favourite meal of ham omelettes). The girl on the bench advises him to use some words he had just uttered (“Alas, poor York peppermint…”) in his play. Her name is Francis [sic] Bacon.

This is a remarkably accomplished 11-minute amateur parody of Forest Gump, telling instead the life of William Shakespeare. The music from the film helps, and it’s not a difficult film to parody, but such care has gone into recrafting shots from the original and duplicating its tone. It doesn’t tell us much about Shakespeare, except maybe to hint that his life for us now is, much like Forest Gump’s, little more than a blank onto which we imprint our own expectations of a national figure.

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