Episode 6: William Shakespeare / by Eric Jaffe

Episode 6: William Shakespeare

Episode 6: William Shakespeare

Written and Produced by Eric Jaffe


Kate Wright as Lottie

Eric Jaffe as Gif

Casey Leach as William Shakespare

Sound Design by Trae Budde

"Time Turners Theme" by Daniel Hildreth


LOTTIE: Hello, Time Cadets! This is Lottie Turner and you’re listening to Time Turners, the podcast where me and my robot Gif go back in time to meet historical figures and bring you all of yesterday’s news today! 

GIF: Roses are red, violets are— Oh. Sorry, I was looking at the wrong note.

LOTTIE: Wait, no, what was that? 

GIF: Nothing.

LOTTIE: Manual override. Gif, what was that?

GIF (robotic): A love letter I’m working on. (Normal voice) Hey, you said you’d only use the manual override in an emergency!

LOTTIE: Gif’s first crush is an emergency!

GIF: Robots don’t have crushes. I just admire her hardware.

LOTTIE: Gross.

GIF: Can we just move on?

LOTTIE: No way. What’s her name? Where’s she from? What’s your poem say?

GIF: On today’s show, we’re going back in time to—

LOTTIE: Manual override: What’s the poem say?

GIF (robotic): Roses are red, violets are blue, I like video games, I also like you. (Normal) Stop that!

LOTTIE: Okay fine. We’re talk about this later. On today’s show, we’re—

GIF: Wait, hold on.


GIF: Did you like the poem?

LOTTIE: It was… cute.

GIF: You sound hesitant.

LOTTIE: It’s just a little cliche is all. And I’m not sure what liking video games has to do with anything.

GIF: I don’t know. I just like video games.

LOTTIE: But this poem isn’t about you! It’s about her!

GIF: Like you’re the expert in love. You haven’t even been on a date before!

LOTTIE: Not true. I shared chocolate milk with Max Allman once in the 3rd grade.

GIF: I thought Max Allman stole milk from everyone back then.

LOTTIE: Yeah, but he stole from me the most! Whatever. If you won't take my advice, I think I know someone you might. Ladies and gentleman, William Shakespeare!


SHAKESPEARE: Heigh-ho, where am I? Who art thee? 

LOTTIE: Welcome to the future, Mr. Shakespeare. My name is Lottie and this is my my robot friend Gif.

SHAKESPEARE: 2017? How camest I hither?

GIF: What’s he saying?

LOTTIE: To be honest, I’m not always sure. Shakespeare is a master wordsmith. He wrote some of the most successful plays of all time. There’s Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hamlet…

SHAKESPEARE: Ah yes, I wrote for the theater for quite some time. At least until the plague arrived. Rats and filth were spreading disease in the cities, so theaters and other public spaces were closed down. Without business, the theaters were forced to close, and so I switched to poetry - Sonnets to be exact.

GIF: What’s a sonnet?

SHAKESPEARE: It’s a poem with fourteen lines that follows a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure. 

GIF: Why fourteen?

SHAKESPEARE: No one knows to be honest. I guess it just felt right. 

LOTTIE: That’s odd.

SHAKESPEARE: Actually, it’s even. Maybe that’s why it rounds out so nicely. Anyway, my most humble apology - why has't thee brought me to this place? 

LOTTIE: Gif is writing a poem to a girl he likes. We thought you might be able to help him.

SHAKESPEARE: Ah, poetry. I’m overjoyed to lend my assistance.  

LOTTIE: Show him what you’ve got, Gif.

GIF: Okay. “Roses are red, violets are blue…”

SHAKESPEARE: No, no, the read is all wrong. This is theater! Readeth with passion!

GIF: Roses are red! Violets are blue!

SHAKESPEARE: Well now, let’s just start over, shall we? What doth thee love about this wench?

GIF: Well, she’s very pretty, incredibly smart—

SHAKESPEARE: I see, but thou can never be together because the lady is not a machine and her family thinkest you a loathed enemy? 

GIF: No, not really. I’m just too nervous to speak to her.

SHAKESPEARE: Because she is a well-born lady and would never speaketh to peasant like you?

GIF: You think I’m a peasant?

SHAKESPEARE: Where’s the drama? What’s the story?

LOTTIE: Tell him how you and the lady met, Gif.

GIF: We met in the kitchen. I was taking a break from work when I saw her in the kitchen playing music. 

LOTTIE: She works at the lab?!

GIF: Yeah.

SHAKESPEARE: Love at first sight. Ah, the excitement. What kind of music?

GIF: Hip-hop, I think.

SHAKESPEARE: I have never heard of this. 

LOTTIE: It’s like poetry over music. You’d like it.

SHAKESPEARE: Very interesting. Gif, didst thou converse with the lady?  

GIF: No, I tried to talk to her but my wires got all tied up.

SHAKESPEARE: Well now, methinks we have enough to begin with. Gif— Wait, is it Gif or Gif?

GIF: Gif.

SHAKESPEARE: Gif, get out a pen. Today, we write from the heart.


GIF: What if I don’t have a heart? Like, literally.

SHAKESPEARE: Nonsense. Even a robot like yourself has a heart. To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

GIF: I have no idea what that means.

LOTTIE: It’s from Hamlet. It means be true to yourself and people will see your heart.

SHAKESPEARE: What she said. We shall writeth in iambic pentameter. 

GIF: What’s iambic pantsameter?

SHAKESPEARE: It’s how I write my plays and sonnets. Imagine a human heart beat. What’s the sound? 


SHAKESPEARE: Aye! That’s the rhythm of our poetry. Ten beats per line. Do it with me! 


SHAKESPEARE: Keepeth going. And listen to me. 


SHAKESPEARE: Shall I / com PARE/ thee TO / a SUM / mer's DAY? 
Thou ART / more LOVE / ly AND / more TEM / per ATE. 
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

GIF: There. That was great. Can we just use that and call it a day?

SHAKESPEARE: Nonsense. You need to speak from your self. Go on, give it a try. Da-DUM. Da-DUM. Da-DUM.

GIF: Shall I/ com PARE/ thee TO/ a VI / deo GAME?
Thou VOICE/ more LOVE/ ly AND/ more MUS / i CAL. 

SHAKESPEARE: Amazing! Great work, Gif! Original and well spoken.

LOTTIE: All he did was take your sonnet and change the words!

SHAKESPEARE: In my day, originality is just perfecting the art of retelling, my dear. Now, come on, Gif, let’s keep going.

GIF: Okay. Shall I/ com PARE/ thee TO/ a VI / deo GAME? Thou VOICE/ more LOVE/ ly AND/ more MUS / i CAL. Before you, making toast was so lame. Now I look forward to being in your— Nothing rhymes with musical.

SHAKESPEARE: How about fusical? 

LOTTIE: What’s that mean?

SHAKESPEARE: Whatever you want it to mean. 

GIF: You want me to just make up a word? 

SHAKESPEARE: I did it all the time. About 3000 times actually. 

LOTTIE: Okay, I’m not sure we should be making up words here. 

SHAKESPEARE: The lady doth protest too much, methinks. I’ve created many words: fashionable, majestic, blanket, even swagger. If a word didn’t exist to say what I wanted to say, I’d just make it up.

LOTTIE: I don’t think you can really get away with that today.

SHAKESPEARE: What doth thou suggest? 

LOTTIE: Maybe Gif should just talk to this girl?

SHAKESPEARE: Talk? Lord, what fools these mortals be! Talk is nothing - Poetry is the language of the heart!

GIF: Yeah! What he said!

LOTTIE: Gif, do you even like poetry?

GIF: Not really. It’s boring.

LOTTIE: Then just talk to her.

SHAKESPEARE: I believeth not what I am hearing. My playing company and I once stole an entire theater just to keep our plays and poetry alive! Gif, if we could steal that theatre piece by piece and build the world-renowned Globe Theatre from its timber, you can write one great poem. 

LOTTIE: Uhhhhh.



SHAKESPEARE: Perfect! That was— Wait. Art thou serious?

GIF: I’m sorry, Mr. Shakespeare, but I don’t think robots were meant to tell poetry.

SHAKESPEARE: Don’t worry, I understand. Sorry I was so intense. It’s just difficult to get people to pay attention to poetry anymore.

LOTTIE: That’s not true.

SHAKESPEARE (losing his voice): Of course it is. Why else would you still be talking about my work in 2017? I thought Gif could be the one to bring poetry back to young people. 

GIF: What about hip-hop music?

SHAKESPEARE: What about it?

LOTTIE: Gif’s right. Even if people don’t read poetry any more, hip-hop is one of the most popular genres of music on the planet. Some rappers even write in iambic pentameter! 

SHAKESPEARE: Really? Like whom?

LOTTIE: How about Eminem?

EMINEM (Sample): His PALMS are SWEATy, KNEES weak, ARMS are HEAVy
There's VOmit ON his SWEATer alREADy, mom's spaGHETTi, He's NERVous, but ON the SURFace he LOOKS calm and READy  To DROP BOMBS, but HE keeps ON forGETtin.

SHAKESPEARE: Wow. That was perfect iambic pentameter. 

LOTTIE: It is. It’s also one of the most successful songs of all time.

SHAKESPEARE: Wow, I guess things aren’t so bad for poetry afterall. 

LOTTIE: Not at all. 

GIF: I think I’m going to try talking to her now. Can we wrap this up now? Get it, “rap”?

SHAKESPEARE: Of course. I shall see thee in the future.

LOTTIE: Thanks for coming.



GIF: He was weird.

LOTTIE: Yeah, but he was pretty talented.

GIF: So what do you think I should say to Alexa?

LOTTIE: Speak from the heart. Tell— Wait, Alexa?

GIF: Yeah.

LOTTIE: Alexa as in our Amazon Alexa?!

GIF: She plays the most incredible music.

LOTTIE: Gif! She’s inanimate. 

GIF: Hey, that’s offensive!


GIF: Thanks for listening to Time Turners.

LOTTIE: Don’t forget to stay up to date with our adventures by subscribing to our show on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

GIF: See you next week!

LOTTIE: In the future!