University of Leicester eBulletin

Diss in Shakespeare

March 2003
No 84


Comic Relief Day Report and pictures

Students at the University of Leicester brought a whole new meaning to Literary Criticism in the spirit of Comic Relief.

They were 'insulting' passers-by on campus with Shakespearean put-downs in order to raise money for charity on Friday, March 14 (Red Nose Day).

And they used the equivalent of a 'pig's bladder' - a water-filled red balloon - in true Elizabethan style to draw attention to their efforts.

The costumed cussers from Leicester University Theatre (LUT) used the choicest remarks by the Bard himself - or a variation on his words - to ‘diss’ students and others who paid for the privilege.

The enterprising theatre group - which once staged a non-stop Bardathon, a performance of all of Shakespeare's written works, including his Will - got the idea for the event after the student newspaper Ripple printed a Top Ten of Shakespeare's insults.

LUT Theatre Manager, Roger Scoppie said: "The students decided to turn to the finest source for some of the biggest put-downs.

"The University of Leicester is well known for its cutting-edge research. This was an opportunity for students to provide cutting remarks.

"None of the insults were offensive in a modern sense - they combined wit with wisdom worthy of one of the world's greatest playwrights. Mind you, we're staging Hamlet next week, and some of the things Hamlet says to Ophelia you couldn't get away with on prime-time TV, even today."

The University has expertise in the study of Shakespeare and the national English Association is based at the University of Leicester, providing a resource on Shakespeare available on the University website.

Biological Sciences student Nick Bolton who took part in the caper declared: "It is not every day I get to call people 'an infectious sheep-biting barnacle' and get away with it. It was great as it was all for charity!".


You starveling, you eel-skin, you dried newt's tongue, you bull's-pizzle, you stock-fish (Henry IV Part 1)
You whoreson upright rabbit! (Henry IV Part 2)
More of your conversation would affect my brain (Coriolanus)
He has not so much brain as ear-wax (Troilus and Cressida)
His brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage (As You Like It)
You would answer very well to whipping (All ' s Well That Ends Well)
He's a most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise-breaker, the owner of no one good quality (All's Well That Ends Well)
You Scullion! Your rampallian! You fustilarian! I'll tickle your catastrophe! (Henry IV Part 2)
I will knock your urinal about your knave's coxcomb...  (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
I'll make quagmire of your mingled brains (Henry VI Part 1)
What's the matter you dissentious rogue that, rubbing the poor itch of your opinion, make yourselves scabs? (Coriolanus)
He that depends upon your favours swims with fins of lead, and hews down oaks with rushes (Coriolanus)
Boils and plagues plaster you over, that you may be abhorred farther than seen and one infect another against the wind a mile (Coriolanus)
You souls of geese that bear the shapes of men (Coriolanus)
I find the ass in compound with the major part of your syllables (Coriolanus)
Your means are very slender, and your waste is great (Henry IV, Part 2)
You are as a candle, the better part burnt out (Henry IV, Part 2)
A pox damn you, you muddy rascal, is that all the comfort you bring me? (Henry IV, Part 2)
Hang yourself, you muddy conger (Henry IV, Part 2)
There is neither honesty, manhood or good fellowship in thee. You tread upon my patience (Henry IV, Part 1)
He made me mad to see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet, and talk so like a waiting gentlewoman
(Henry IV, Part 1)
We leak in your chimney and your chamber lye breeds fleas like a loach (Henry IV, Part 1)
Peace, ye fat guts (Henry IV, Part 1)
Like the toad, ugly and venomous (As You Like It)
Sweep on, you fat and greasy citizens (As You Like It)
And in his brain which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places (As You Like It)
Never hung poison on a fouler toad (Richard III)
Out of my sight, thou dost infect mine eyes (Richard III)
Poisonous bunch backed toad (Richard III)
Deep, hollow, treacherous, and full of guile (Richard III)
A knot you are of damned blood suckers (Richard III)
Wretched, bloody and usurping boar
(Richard III) 

For more information contact Roger on 0116 2522416 (office hours), mobile 0773 0119140 or email, and Nick on 07811 705811.  

Happiness is a Performance called Hamlet... [Leicester University Theatre production]

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Last updated: March 2003
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