In December I wrote a blog entry on a Shakespeare rendition of Star Wars, written by Ian Doescher. Ryan North’s To Be Or Not To Be takes the remixing aspect of Doescher’s William Shakespeare’s Star Wars and brings it to a whole new level; Ryan North’s choose your own adventure novel gives readers the chance to alter the fate of the characters from the original play based on whatever path they choose and includes 110 alternate death scenes.
Although the immediate assumption is that To Be Or Not To Be is a traditional approach to Shakespeare, this isn’t actually true. If the reader chooses their path correctly some of the alternate paths available to them include: dinosaurs, robots, and a feminist approach where Ophelia transforms from a victim to a smart, self-sufficient woman in charge of her fate with a love for science. Readers that prefer a more traditional approach can also take the path of the original play through choosing to follow a path involving the play’s iconic Yorick skull.
According to the author, Shakespeare was a big fan of remixing stories that already existed and he frequently borrowed from existing literature. Because this is true, I’m sure William Shakespeare would of approved of his plays getting a refreshing remix and a brand new outlook.