Hamlet in 60 Seconds

Date: 2008
Posted by: ryanspeaks2007 (and now by <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpOtKMeGyzkhtDpbR9IBX3Q"TheWasa11)
Credits: Created by ryanspeaks2007
Duration: 1.00

Speeded-up or reduced Shakespeare has been done so often we may have forgotten what the joke was for. Is it a wish to hold up to ridicule that which the prevailing culture holds to be sacrosanct? Does it demonstrate that our familiarity with the plays is such that they need only minimal reference to trigger an understanding? Or is Shakespeare just innately funny, especially when he wants to be serious?

Whichever of these, the joke too often falls flat. Until, that is, someone does it well, as they do here. This is an unapologetically crude (in execution) cartoon that whizzes us through the salient points of Hamlet, making us laugh at just how much it manages to cram into those sixty seconds, making its point all the more by its division of the action into scenes. It also has its own nonsense way with words (“The King’s a thing with a ring on a string”). Look out for the timer in the bottom-left corner, to ensure that the video remains as good as its word. The perfect last-minute revision text.

YouTube page

The Office Othello

Date: 2007
Posted by: smathew3344
Credits: Filmed by Stephen Mathew
Cast: Not named
Duration: 10.52

Just how many American high schools are out there where the English teacher has set the class the task of producing a video parody of the Shakespeare play they are studying using some popular culture reference or other? From the evidence of YouTube, there are hundreds. Most are wearisome and would seem to have little instructional value; a handful amuse or intrigue; just one or two are exceptional. The Office Othello comes under the intriguing category – a moderately skilful but ultimately quite peculiar attempt to marry the style of the television series The Office to Shakespeare’s play. The effort is praiseworthy for the accuracy of some of the parody, and for not slavishly following the plot line of the play. But the light tone sits uneasily with jealousy and having Pam (the Desdemona figure) have her throat cut with a pair of office scissors. So, more marks for inspiration than execution.

The same filmmaker has also made Crouching Tiger, Hidden Macbeth, a juvenile romp redeemed somewhat by its title and the comic use of dubbing.

YouTube page