Fakespeare 101

Notes written by Craig Rintoul


1.      Salt your speech with common Shakespearean words. (see list)

2.      Study the Shakespeare Insult Generator for inspiration.(see Insult generator)

3.      Make any word sound Shakespearean.

        Find a more complicated synonym: Red becomes Scarlet or Crimson, Yellow is jaundiced, tall is towering, fat is corpulent

        If you know the word in French, use it. Extra marks if you mis-pronounce it the way the English do so “Les Miserables” sounds like “Less Miz-er-ables”.

        Add one of the following prefixes: 'a' or 'en' or 'be' (pronounced buh)

        Add the suffix 'ed' pronounced like the name Ed. eg.  Wash becomes en-washed-ed.


Other Techniques:

1.      Use compound words eg. Black-hearted, ruby-throated, pox-marked, thrice-cursed.

2.      Save the verb in sentence to the very end. “Thou hast mine hat stolen.” For 'is' or 'are' use just use the word 'be' at the sentence end. eg.“Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

3.      Add pointless detail: “Thou hast mine finest hat of damask linen, as red as the blood on a sweet virgin's wedding night bedsheets, stolen.”

4.      Sexual Innuendo-a single horn is always a penis and two horns signifies cuckold.

5.      Parallel structure: “Two be, or not to be.”

6.      Rhetorical questions “Hath not a Jew eyes?” “Is this a dagger I see before me?”

7.      Try to get into verbal sparring matches. Simply build and repeat on what they say: “Thou art a knave.” “Thou art a feckless knave.” “Thou art a shrewish, feckless knave.” “Thou art a puss-moistened, shrewish, feckless knave.” “Thou art at a simpering, puss-moistened, shrewish, feckless knave.” etc. etc.

8.      Use bizarre metaphors. “Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?” “Shall I compare thee to a half-open-ed box of instant creamy potatoes mash-ed ?”

9.      When all else fails, throw '-th' at the end of a word. “Giveth me-eth that-eth.” (Though this tires very quickly.)


Sword Play


All orientations are done using the stage as reference. Back is the back of the stage. Fore the front.

Always begin the fight by saying en garde. This cues your fellow improvisers that a sword fight is about to begin.

Because you know where the other person will be going with her/his sword the only thing to worrya bout is to have both mimed swords end in the same spot. It is even possible for one person to turn their back and fight and still make it look good. 


Always follow this pattern:


En garde-Swords cross at chest height.









Cross Swords-swords again cross at chest height, who it is closest to is entirely up to you.

Repeat sequence


Heroes- Male (boringly perfect), Female (plucky, spirited and fond of cross-dressing)

Sidekick-Usually has complicated love life. Fond of younger sisters and rich daughters.

Love interest-plucky, spirited and fond of cross-dressing

Villain-Usurper, bastard son, frequently a hunchback or with a limp, vows revenge for wrongs

Fool-Clever and extremely wise always works for a Lord or King

Servant-Always clever, usually with a quick wit and even quicker to make some quick coin

Soldier-hot blooded/headed and rash, imagine slights easily (Paris, Tybalt)

Old Man-may be King or an aged advisor to nobility-(Lear, Polonius) gives unwanted bad advice

Sour Puss-(Jaques) Been there, seen that, have the T-shirt YAWN

Supernatural-Witch or Faery or Sprite or ghost-knows the score and loves to mess with humans


Castles-great for betrayals and claustrophobic story-lines

Forests-everyone always gets lost, usually stacked with Faery folk

Islands-no one ever goes to an island, they just get ship-wrecked there

Market-always with two opposing houses at either end, useful for brawls and servant banter

Taverns-full of drunks, fools, scoundrels and actors

Moor/Heath-place of wildness and madness and evil


1-Big characters

2-Cool location-(see above)

3-Huge emotions-no half measured loves or hates permitted

4-Prologue-works like a Typewriter scene-sets location, tone, plot and characters

5-Soliloquy- a) shows inner desires of characters

b) lets you telegraph plot twists to fellow improvisers

c) like typewriter can be used as narrative device

6-Mystical-may be added at any time to any scene for almost any reason


A) Comedy-always ends with a wedding. Everyone dances. There may be an epilogue. Last phrase is ALWAYS a rhyming couplet

B) Tragedy-leave as many characters dead on the floor as possible no matter how contrived the reason...it never stopped Willy! A high status character should survive if only long enough to give the final rhyming couplet.


Straight Shakespeare scene

Movie as Shakespeare

Current Event as Shakespeare

Actor's nightmare as Shakespeare

Sequel to existing Shakespeare play, Romeo & Juliet II, MacBeth: The Next Generation, Othello: Iago's Revenge

Day in Thy Life as Shakespeare

First Time Thou Were't Kissed as Shakespeare

Audience Member using insult generator make audience member look brilliant

Pillars as Shakespeare

Genre roller-coaster with Shakespeare

Scene 3 ways as Shakespeare

Slow motion commentary as Shakespeare