Creative Writing Cafe Homework Term Two – Lesson Three: Modern Day Shakespeare



After spending a few hours on Sunday with my laptop firmly fixed to me, deliberating how to put into words a modern-day version of one of Shakespeare’s plays, I battled a severe case of Writer’s Block. Eventually, having to admit defeat and pack up, I have returned to the challenge this afternoon and, thankfully, found words flowed much more freely today. I decided upon:

* Prince Hal is living a wild life with a group of criminal friends, although his destiny – he’ll soon be King – is never far from his thoughts (Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2)

My modern-day version is based on eighteen year old Cal from a council estate, who is living the wild life although his destiny is in the police force and is never far from his thoughts:

Cal takes a long drag on the bedraggled communal spliff that has been handed to him by Rhys. The laid back hip hop beat pumping from the IPod speakers in the background also melting into his brain, the recipe allowing his thoughts to drift freely and unedited at the forefront of his mind.

Missuswolf Modern Day Shakespeare

It’s five am and Cal is leaning against Rhys’s living room wall, bobbing his head up and down to the music; as if he is nodding in agreement with what his brain his projecting.  All around him are strewn limbs belonging to owners who have long since passed out from the cocktail of booze and drugs.

Rhys is striking up a deal with a fellow party goer, pushing his illicit drug ways on him, hooking and reeling in yet another punter; another addict. Cal shakes his head to himself, another unsuspecting victim to the vicious drug circuit. His mind drifting to thoughts of Rhys, and how he subsides his nice little business with an income from the occasional newsagents and off licenses robbery.

Cal’s’ eighteen year residence in the Turnhill Estate has him stereotyped as born, bred and destined for a life of crime and drugs. However true this may have proven so far for Cal, he was managing to turn it around. He would still be living a life of crime and drugs; only now he would be preventing and detecting it.

Tonight was his covert last send off. He had been successful; the letter had come through from the Turnhill County Police Force announcing his start date in a couple of weeks’ time. Cal had ensured he was careful, managing to jump through hoops in order to be clean for all the drugs tests.

Tonight was his last one. He inhaled it slowly, savoring the lightheadedness and relaxing sensation pulsing through his veins.

He had managed to keep himself out of trouble all these years, his typical teen wild partying ways his only crime. He had made a promise; ever since his father had died from the gang related violence that he would get out of the estate. He wanted to make a difference, make something of his life. He thought about his poor mother, who had been left to struggle with him and his even wilder younger brother Timmy. He knew that he was going to lose friends along the way, an inevitable sacrifice of the job. He had once promised Rhys the good life that he would turn a blind eye as long as he attempted to tame it down, try and help himself to wean of his criminal ways.

Now, leaning his head against the cool fabric of the walls, his mind swimming with euphoric thoughts, paranoia niggling somewhere, he wasn’t so sure. Watching Rhys force innocent, vulnerable young people destroy their lives, he was starting to regret confiding in him. Of course he wanted to help him out and protect him, but deep down, he knew this may not be possible.


From another snippet given to me last week:

Falstaff, an ageing wastrel, expects to live the good life when Prince Hal becomes King; but when Hal does become King, he rejects Falstaff. (Henry IV, Part 2)

I am thinking that Rhys will want protection given to him by Cal, a blind eye turned to his criminal ways. Although Cal will have a tug of war in his head, he will know his job is to arrest Rhys when he becomes involved in one of his cases, rejecting him.

I will take this idea tomorrow night and see if my modern-day interpretation is any good….

Love Missuswolf xxx

Image from Unsplash

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