The Complete Works of William Shakespeare achieved another level of ultimate reduction when we compressed each of Shakespeare’s plays via our Twitter account into Tweets of less than 140 characters.
(This was probably one of the reasons we won the 2010 Shorty Award in the “Cultural Institution” category.)
Check the list below and discover everything you need to know about each of Shakespeare’s plays in fewer than 140 characters.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
All Is NOT Well That Ends Well, and this play doesn’t. MORAL: Do it with the lights on.
ANTONY & CLEOPATRA
Love bites. MORAL: Never get involved in Middle Eastern affairs.
AS YOU LIKE IT
Desperate Housewives in Forest of Arden. MORAL: U can always get a guy by pretending to be a boy.
CARDENIO (WS’s lost play)
Good triumphs over evil, but the fair lady dies anyway. MORAL: Back up your data.
COMEDY OF ERRORS
Twins is funny. MORAL: Adoption is a choice, too.
Aloof, non-sympathetic warrior dies. MORAL: People skills matter.
Don’t marry evil queen. Don’t bet yr wife can’t be seduced. Don’t let someone cut off yr head. All good advice.
Hamlet avenges his father, and it only takes four hours.
HENRY IV, 1
Same as The Lion King: Princes have to grow up. Also, hakuna matata.
HENRY IV, 2
Prince Hal’s movin’ on up. MORAL: Don’t forget the little people who got you where you are.
A king’s gotta do what a king’s gotta do. MORAL: England good, France bad.
HENRY VI, 1
Henry V-play AND king-is tough act to follow. Not even a genius can hit it out the park every time.
HENRY VI, 2
Like a cricket match and Celine Dion’s love, these Henry VI plays will go on.
HENRY VI, 3
The play so nice he wrote it thrice!
Henry wants a son and will stop at nothing to get one. MORAL: Divorce is a pain in the neck.
When in Rome, watch your back. MORAL: Beware the Ides of March.
When writing a play about somebody, don’t leave out the most interesting things (Magna Carta) they did.
It’s hell getting old.
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST
Swearing off women is harder than it looks.
Lady Macbeth encourages her husband to be more aggressive in pursuing career options.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
Dukes suck. MORAL: Don’t get someone else to do your dirty work.
MERCHANT OF VENICE
Always read your loan papers before you sign them.
MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR
Prequel to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Don’t mess with the ladies.
MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
“The course of true love never did run smooth” (III,2). Everyone likes a nice ass.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
People in love act like idiots. Don’t believe everything you hear.
Othello forgoes marital counseling, takes matters into his own hands. Count to 10 before killing your wife.
Don’t ask someone to solve a riddle whose answer will reveal you’re committing incest.
Absolute power corrupts two in the bush.
The end justifies the means. Horses are very valuable, worth kingdoms.
ROMEO & JULIET
“A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life” (Prologue). Teen marriages never last.
TAMING OF THE SHREW
Petruchio tames Kate, and vice versa. No means yes.
Not even stranding your daughter on an island will keep her from discovering boys.
TIMON OF ATHENS
A fool & his money are soon parted. (WS did it better in a little rewrite called King Lear.)
Groundlings love blood!
TROILUS & CRESSIDA
Trojan wars are complicated, and Trojans sometimes break.
Shipwreck. Cross-dressing. Character A loves Character B who loves Character C. We’ve seen it.
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA
Don’t fall in love with your best friend’s girlfriend.
TWO NOBLE KINSMEN
See Two Gentlemen of Verona.
It’s OK to kill yr wife & best friend, & abandon yr baby, as long as you regret it. + Living statues!
UPDATE JULY 16, 2014
After a suggestion by Twitter follower @BenedictTheMad and a further challenge by us…
Who'll do this? MT @benedictthemad: Can u get initial lttrs of Shakespeare's plays in 140 chars? Hamlet=H, All's Well That Ends Well=AWTEW?
— Reduced Shakespeare (@reduced) July 15, 2014
…Twitter follower @joneseily27 reduced the entire works of William Shakespeare…well, at least their titles…well, at least the titles’ initials…to this single magnificent mastertweet:
She did it! RT @joneseily27: AWTEWAYLITCOECLLLMFMTMWOWTMOVAMNDMAANPPOTTOTSTTTACTNTGOVWTH4P1H4P2H5H6P1H6P2H6P3H8KJR2R3AACCHJCKLMORAJTOATA
— Reduced Shakespeare (@reduced) July 16, 2014