To d’oh or not to d’oh, that is the question

By Jordyn Marcellus

MacHomer is nothing like a tale told by an idiot, but it is full of sound and fury, signifying comedy gold.

With good humour and a load of near-perfect impersonations, the play is being held as one of the many theatrical performances for the Calgary International Children’s Festival. MacHomer is the perfect show for parents and teachers who want to educate children and teens who find the Bard’s Elizabethan dialogue a little intimidating.

“Many people who come out of it are really surprised at how much the words are actually Shakespeare’s words,” says Miller. “Although I throw a little ‘okily-dokily’ [Ned Flander’s catchphrase] in there as well, three quarters of what comes out of my mouth are Shakespeare’s words that have really become accessible through this gimmick of the Simpsons characters.”

Miller is adamant that purists have nothing to fear– outside of a little bit of Simpsons flavour in the dialogue, it sticks to the Bard’s words very closely.

“Shakespeare purists have probably seen much, much worse done in Shakespeare’s name than this,” he says. “This is, in a way, not dumbing [Shakespeare] down, because the Simpsons are anything but dumb, but making it palatable to a whole cross-section of people who would otherwise never step into a theatre,” says Miller.

The Simpsons have been on the air for 21 seasons and the famous animated family has become ingrained in pop culture. From the old days of Bart’s catchphrases and Butterfinger commercials to the famously annoying “Spider-Pig” song from The Simpsons Movie, Miller explains the unique appeal of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and little Maggie.

“The Simpsons have a kind of heart to them,” he says. “The characters are almost tragic; they’re so pathetic that they’re tragic. I think that the combination of one into the other [is] so successful because I’m dealing with such great source material.”

Miller believes that one of the reasons MacHomer works for fans of both is because of the similarities between the two groups of characters. What’s more, the mix between classical theatre and modern television adds an exciting, curious cultural edge to the play, which has pleased audiences in over 140 cities, Miller says.

“Overall, the concept of one dysfunctional family [the Simpsons] doing another [the Macbeths] and high and low culture thrown together in a car crash, it all seems to work for the many, many Simpsons fans and the many, many Shakespeare fans.”

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