Controversy Emerges as to Whether Shakespeare Really Wrote “Gaieties”


November 14, 2010 3:00 pm
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Controversy Emerges as to Whether Shakespeare Really Wrote “Gaieties”


As part of the annual Big Game festivities, Stanford students will be performing “Gaieties” on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week.  Each and every year, this performance is accompanied by a heated debate in the Stanford community regarding the origins of this generation-defining narrative.

While many students and staff members are convinced that the play was written by the great English playwright William Shakespeare, an equally large contingent contest this claim.  Those who don’t believe Shakespeare wrote Gaieties point to the unusual syntactical structure, awkward character development, and abnormal plot trajectory that are incongruous with the rest of the classic Shakespearean comedies.

The strongest fringe theory refuting Shakespeare’s authorship of “Gaieties” is the group of four to five self-proclaimed “Gaieties Writers” who claim to have written the play. “Guys, seriously, we wrote it,” claims head writer Nick DeWilde.

Many Shakespearean scholars are not convinced. “Shakespeare may have been forced to hide his identity due to extremely complex issues of social status, gender, or simply because he wanted to avoid the wrath of Muwekma-Tah-Ruk,” said Professor Ian Holmart.

Others point to the uncanny and convincing similarities between Gaieties and typical Shakespearean performances, including the presence of actors, the existence of a stage, and the use of a script containing predominantly English dialogue.  This camp has also spawned a more moderate wing which claims that “Gaieties” was not, in fact, written by Shakespeare, but was just a very poor translation of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.”

The most recent development in this age-old debate revolves around the meter of the “Gaieties” script.  The play is conspicuously devoid of Shakespeare’s characteristic iambic pentameter, but, on average, only five out of ten people surveyed stressed this point.