Here at the Blackfriars Playhouse, Shakespeare’s American Home, we had an opportunity to speak with the playwright during his annual residency for our Renaissance Season. Naturally we asked him his predictions for this weekend’s Sweet Sixteen games.
ASC: Welcome back to Staunton.
WS: Thank you. Last year, when I was here at home, I was in a better place.
ASC: How long have you been a basketball fan.
WS: Since my youth. No nets in those days. We would grapple with hoops of steel, and that could dull the palm.
ASC: Ouch. I didn’t realize basketball was a thing back then.
WS: Oh, yes. Hard to find an empty court. Even all the courts of France were filled with chases. Tony Parker could tell you: he may still be playing for the Spurs.
ASC: But surely you didn’t have college basketball.
WS: No. That was before Nike.
ASC: Let’s not wade into that mess. But you enjoy March Madness?
WS: ‘Tis not madness: ’tis wonder that enwraps me. Compared to Brexit, no settled senses of the world can match the pleasure of March Madness.
ASC: Are you willing to give us your picks in the Sweet Sixteen?
WS: There are those that dare; and I dare do all that may become a man. Here are my picks in writing fairly drawn.
Florida State Seminoles coached by Leonard Hamilton vs.
Gonzago Bulldogs coached by Mark Few
“We’ll find these Seminoles, like fierce, fiery warriors,
have fought upon the clouds against this good man, Few;
and down, down Dogs!”
Shakespeare picks Florida State
Texas Tech Red Raiders coached by Chris Beard vs.
Michigan Wolverines coached by John Beilein
“They that hath a Beard are more than youth,
but Michigan will eat like wolves and fight like devils.”
Shakespeare picks Michigan
Auburn “War Eagle” Tigers coached by Bruce Pearl vs.
University of North Carolina Tarheels coached Roy Williams
“Where danger dogs these Heels of worth,
the Heels have deserved and will peck these eagles.”
Shakespeare picks the University of North Carolina
Houston Cougars coached by Kelvin Sampson vs.
University of Kentucky Wildcats coached by John Calipari
“In this cat fight, Sampson will prove prince of cats and turn Kentucky
from a Wildcat to a cat comformable as other household cats”
Shakespeare picks Houston
Purdue Boilermakers coached by Matt Painter vs.
Tennessee Volunteers coached by Rick Barnes
“We’ll say Barnes are blessings and the Painter was no god.”
Shakespeare picks Tennessee
Oregon Ducks coached by Dana Altman vs.
University of Virginia Cavaliers coached by Tony Bennett
“O dainty Ducks! O dear! Though thou canst swim like a duck, thou art made like a goose by these cull’d and choice-drawn Cavaliers.
Shakespeare picks the University of Virginia
Louisiana State University Tigers coached by Tony Benford vs.
Michigan State Spartans coached by Tom Izzo
“Tony is stepp’d in so far, but he will Wade no more; this is so: Izzo will make Tigers tame.”
Shakespeare picks Michigan State
Virginia Tech Hokie-Birds coached by Buzz Williams vs
Duke Blue Devils coached by Mike Krzyzewski
“For these dead Birds, sigh a prayer. They will think that hell is empty and all the Devils are here.”
Shakespeare picks Duke
ASC: Well, you’ve got us to the Elite Eight. How about the Final Four?
WS: The wager?
ASC: Nothing. We’re a non-profit.
WS: Nothing will come of nothing. But I have studied four wise words to speak to you: “Wolverines” “Rams,” “Cavaliers,” “Devils.” I can bid the other four farewell.
WS: The ram is the University of North Carolina’s animal insignia. What is a “Tarheel”? It’s not in my concordance.
ASC: And who wins the tournament?
WS: The most complete champion that ever I heard.
ASC: There needs no ghost writer come from the grave to tell us this.
WS: Good words and well pronounced. Let me pause a day or two before I hazard.
ASC: You can have until tip-off on Saturday the 6th of April.
WS: For this relief much thanks. I’ll have it to you by Friday.