First, because a lot of these stories are timeless. Sure, kids still groan at the difficulty of reading all the thees and thous and the rest when he comes up in school. Despite that, there’s still regular references made to Romeo and Juliet in pop culture. People still know a lot of the quotes, from “To be or not to be, that is the question.” to “Friends, Romans, countrymen…” the stories are about broad themes that still resonate with people. A lot of them have been adapted for different settings in movie and theater.

Secondly, because we suspect Shakespeare would approve. Some of his stories are very old stories, or based upon old stories that were well known in his era. Then he took those events and dramatized them. His stories persist, and stand out from others, in part because of his willingness to challenge some of the accepted order of his day. His work includes mad rulers, incest, betrayal, falling in love with the enemy, and, of course, Puck. Very little was off limits if it would get the audience in the theater.

Also, everyone who contributed to this book was a reader first. We all admired Shakespeare’s craft and way with words. We appreciated just how much depth there was to these stories, and with it, how readily all those elements could be made at home in different settings.

Finally, Shakespeare is one of the foundations of literature. Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar are taught in a lot of high schools. His stories are major pillars of a lot of college English classes. His plays are still performed on stages around the world, from poor little school stages to major productions. So if punk literature is about taking the expectations of literature and twisting it, then punk Shakespeare is only natural.

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