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What profession is the ‘playwright’ of our time?

Who are the Bill Shakespeare & Kit Marlowe of Now, in terms of literary skill but also reach & fame/notoriety? What is today’s equivalent artform to a play in the round or a fawning sonnet for the Queen?

And, would an Elizabethan playwright today be a bigshot film writer/director? A Netflix screenwriter or producer? A rapper or pop songwriter who rubs shoulders with foreign royalty & international models?
replies 25Nov 30, 2017 8:56 AM +00:00

Philip Dawkins

replies 1Nov 30, 2017 9:01 AM +00:00

eh hem
replies 2Nov 30, 2017 9:02 AM +00:00

Ryan Murphy

replies 3Nov 30, 2017 9:04 AM +00:00


--Shawn Mendes
replies 4Nov 30, 2017 9:12 AM +00:00

Public Relations
replies 5Nov 30, 2017 9:16 AM +00:00

I personally believe we DLers are at the forefront of the vanguard.

(AND we will surely be up for a Pulitzer or something for our probe into Operation Lansbury.)

replies 6Nov 30, 2017 9:21 AM +00:00

I don’t blame you all so much for not taking the question asked in all earnestness seriously, as I blame myself for not anticipating it. As you were, lads.

--OP, chagrined
replies 7Nov 30, 2017 9:36 AM +00:00

Jay-Z recently predicted Chris Martin of ‘Coldplay’ would be held up like a Shakespeare in centuries to come. Really.

Beyonce is more likely than either man to take the wreath from Will’s head. At least she popularised certain turns of phrase. ‘Bootylicious’, the trochaic ‘Becky-with-the-good-hair’, “I’m in my feelings” and “I slay” are all more memorable and in wider use than any Coldplay lyric or Jay-Z line.

replies 8Nov 30, 2017 2:32 PM +00:00

If Shakespeare or Marlowe were alive today, they'd be churning out episodes of power-blood-and-revenge sagas on HBO.

replies 9Nov 30, 2017 3:17 PM +00:00

So basically George R. R. Martin is the Shakespeare of the 21st Century, R9?

What about the poetry side, though? The Bard was a multi-talented artistic force as well as a famed courtier, even though he was looked down upon by some for his plays. He also directed his own works and acted from time to time. Is there anyone alive today who even comes close? I’m thinking the late Prince Rogers Nelson might fit, given that he had films out...

--OP, still pondering
replies 10Dec 1, 2017 4:25 AM +00:00

I once heard Bill Cli n ton called the ‘Faustus’ of our time, not sure if I agree.

Who is the modern cognate of Chaucer? A hypeman, a forgerer, a travel writer & satirist to the rich, & amateur cardshark...

replies 11Dec 1, 2017 4:42 AM +00:00

In the 1990s, it was the moguls & bookers of American pro-wrestling.

Behind the curtain was almost as much drug use, excess, sleazy sex and power-games as you’d expect from politicians of now...all for our Entertainment dollar. Vince Russo has a little John Ford about him.

Seventeen years before WWE acquired WCW, Mr. McMahon made a stunning deal to score World Championship Wrestling's Saturday night timeslot on TBS. How did it all go down? And why were the lives of the men responsible threatened?
replies 12Dec 6, 2017 9:14 AM +00:00

quentin tarantino is the dialoqgue king since reservoir dogs. he just gets dialogue like willy the shake.

replies 13Dec 6, 2017 9:23 AM +00:00

Nah R2, he wants to be a Beat. His auteur films and stints at teaching speak to that.

Shakespeare was more a dramatic storyteller than a diarist, more of the common-people. Bill was less about philosophy & personal journeys and more about society & relationships within it.

replies 14Dec 6, 2017 9:36 AM +00:00

It was probably Rod Serling.

replies 15Dec 6, 2017 9:48 AM +00:00


replies 16Dec 6, 2017 9:56 AM +00:00

Kit Marlowe produced almost nothing.

Bill Shakespeare was consistently productive.

No-one in the last century has produced as much as what Shakespeare did. It's a different world now.

replies 17Dec 6, 2017 9:58 AM +00:00

Yes, quite right R17. Shakespeare’s catalogue is remarkable even by today’s standards. One wonders when he stopped to eat.

However, I was speaking of legacy & largesse more than proliferation. I am asking: which writers of today have the influence & popularity of Shakespeare? Whose work is entering mass consciousness in the same way?

How about Bowie? His lyrics are as memorable, and as well-beloved.

replies 18Dec 6, 2017 10:29 AM +00:00
I am asking: which writers of today have the influence & popularity of Shakespeare? Whose work is entering mass consciousness in the same way?

Michael Jackson, J.K. Rowling, Kanye West, Pixar.

replies 19Dec 6, 2017 11:14 AM +00:00

R19 those listed certainly do have the widespread appeal. But the talent...?

replies 20Dec 6, 2017 12:47 PM +00:00

To be fair to Marlowe, he was killed when he was 29, so, no, he didn't write very much. Shakespeare was not yet "Shakespeare" at that age; much of his early work is pretty ragged. He did work like a demon once he got going, though.

replies 21Dec 6, 2017 1:20 PM +00:00

Quality, not quantity, R21.

Don’t scholars now believe that Marlowe had a big hand in writing the Henry cycle?

replies 22Dec 7, 2017 5:14 AM +00:00

Tim Rice & Bernie Taupin are both world-renowned lyricists who have had their words in major stage productions. They have also worked with ‘stars’ and in film.

What sayeth the Datalounge?

replies 23Dec 7, 2017 5:15 AM +00:00

R22, the current Oxford edition totally buys into the idea that Shakespeare and Marlowe collaborated on the Henry VI plays. I’m not sure how much of that is based on language algorithms and how much is based (longstanding) speculation. One might have hoped for something better from that match-up.

replies 24Dec 7, 2017 8:32 AM +00:00

R24 indeed. Two heads aren’t always better than one, particularly if those two heads are genius rivals. The idea of Marlowe & Shakespeare collabing is a tempting one, but there’s definitely still a case to say that they couldn’t have compromised enough to produce a whole play in tandem (and that they didn’t have enough time to get to comfortable enough to work together before Marlowe’s death). Still, the echoes of Marlowe in Henry VI are undeniable. I’ve always noticed a big jump in quality in that cycle...

What do you think they would admire nowadays? I feel that Shakespeare would look to recent acclaimed tv series like ‘Empire’ or popular comic dramas such as Wes Anderson films. To my mind, Marlowe might prefer more fantastic & experimental works such as Pynchon novels or series like ‘American Gods’.

replies 25Dec 8, 2017 3:52 AM +00:00