Sonnet Battle

(Stirring theme song rolls in as the title "Sonnet Battle" comes onto the screen, accompanied by pictures of writers, paper, and pens.)

Overenthused announcer: Welcome, one and all to Sonnet Stadium, where, tonight, we will witness the event of the century! We are very honored to have this competitor with us tonight. You'll know him as the writer of such plays as "Two Gentlemen of Verona" and "Romeo and Juliet"! Please welcome to the stage, the great bard himself, WILLLIIAMM SHAKESPEARE!

(Shakespeare makes his way to the center of the crowd, shaking his hands above his head)

Overenthused announcer: Now, Will, what sonnet are you going to be writing for us today?

Shakespeare: I call it… "Sonnet 18!" (there is a unanimous gasp from the audience. Such words like "Genius!"and "Amazing!" echo throughout the crowd)

Announcer: Now, let's meet our challenger. He comes all the way from Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. He's written a couple of minor sonnets, but has yet to be published. He's looking for his first big break, and says that his favorite subject to write about is string cheese. Let's hear a big round of applause for BOBBBBBBBBBBBB WHIIIIIITE!

(the crowd claps politely, but not quite as enthusiastically as they did for Shakespeare).

Bob: Um, hi.

Announcer: Now, what will you be writing for us today?

Bob: Um, I call it, "Ode to a stringy mozzerella"

Announcer: Phenomenal! Simply phenomenal! Now, Will, Bob, you know the rules. We'll give you fifteen minutes to come up with the material for your sonnet, then you each have to preform it in front of the entire crowd.

Shakespeare: I'm ready.

Bob: Me too.

Announcer: Good! Start the clock! (A gong is rung, and a huge digital clock hanging down from the ceiling starts counting down minutes) While our writers here begin their sonnets, let's meet our panel of judges (cut to a table of people sitting and wearing pasted-on smiles. Camera pans left to right as the announcer introduces the panel). We have children's illustrator and author Anna Grindle, Poet Gary Weiss, High School Librarian Elizabeth Horowitz, and, our special surprise panelist, Scarface!

Scarface: Say hello to my little friend! (everyone looks at Scarface apprehensively. Scarface pulls out a pen, and begins laughing insanely. Everyone else laughs nervously)

Gary Weiss: I must say, I've heard wonderful things about the Bard's works, but I've never actually read much of his poetry.

Elizabeth Horowitz: This'll be one for the books, I'm sure, Gary.

Announcer: Thank you, panelists. Now, let's check in back on the battlefield, where our two competitors are hard at work! Chet, why don't you clue us in on what we can expect from our Champion and challenger tonight.

Chet: Thank you Brad. I talked with Shakespeare a little while before the battle, and he seemed very enthusiastic about tonight's competition. (Cut to interview)

Shakespeare: This Bob White seems to be a worthy adversary for my pen, but I shall defeat him. First I believe I shall go with a bit symbolism, followed with a swift, clever usage of iambic pentameter. I think I shall finish off with a line about love, and that is how my challenger shall fall.

Chet: So, Master Shakespeare, you believe that you can thoroughly whip the pants off of this boy from Wisconsin?

Shakespeare: I believe thy panel shall be the judge of whose pantaloons are the ones that have been smitten. But it is my personal belief that I shall be the smiter, and this Bob White fellow shall be the smitee. (Cut back to Chet)

Chet: Let's have a look at the interview I had with Shakespeare's challenger, Bob White.

Bob: Well, I hear this Shakespeare guy's pretty good, but, when it comes to cheese, I've been known to bring people to tears. I'm pretty good too, y'see?

Chet: Ah. What strategies do you think you'll use for tonight's battle?

Bob: Well, I don't know. I think I'll probably do a bit of free verse, and maybe have a little bit of background percussion that I, of course, will be providing on my trusty bongos (he whacks his bongos for effect. Cut back to Chet.)

Chet: Well, there you have it. Both the Bard and his challenger seem very ready to get this show on the road. And with one minute left on the clock, I think we're about ready to witness the showdown!

Female voice: Five seconds to go. Three, two, one. (There is a loud trumpet blast).

Announcer: Alright! Time is up. That means that it's now time for the writers to present their sonnets in front of the panel. Will, since you're the defending champion, we'll let you go first. (Shakespeare nods appreciatively, and stands in front of the panel).

Shakespeare: Ladies, gentlemen, and villain of the panel (Scarface salutes with his pen), I present to you Sonnet 18.

Devouring Time, blunt thou the lion's paws,

And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;

Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,

And burn the long-liv'd phoenix in her blood;

Make glad and sorry seasons, as thou fleets

And do whate'er thow wilt, swift-footed Time,

To the woide world, and all her fading sweets;

But I forbid thee one most heinous crime:

O carve not with they hours my love's fair brow,

Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen;

Him in they course untainted do allow,

For beauty's pattern to succeeding men.

Yet do they worst old Time: despite thy wrong,

My love shall in my verse ever live young.

Gary: Well, Master Shakespeare, this certainly is a different kind of verse from you. I'm not really quite sure what to make of it. I actually find it quite hard to understand.

Elizabeth: You'd never catch my High Schoolers reading anything that weird, that's for sure.

Anna: Definitely not best seller material.

Scarface: Well, I liked it! (Everyone turns towards Scarface, surprised) I liked the use of symbolism, particularly. I find it hard to believe that people of literary backgrounds, such as yourselves would find the work so hard to understand. I can tell you right now, Bard, that you've got my vote!

Announcer: Well! An interesting, and rather surprising comment from our guest panelist, Scarface. Now, we'll hear Bob White's Ode to a Stringy Mozzerella, with a possible accompanyment on the bongos.

Bob: Oh! String Cheese! (bangs on the bongos)

You are so beautiful in thy whiteyness! (more banging)

So stringy, (one bang)

So salty (two bangs)

And, of course, so very yummified (three bangs)

Oh String cheese! (more bangning)

I would eat of your tasty fruits (quick bangs)

If only I was not….

Lactose intolerant (Many many sadly unrythmic bangs on the drums)

Gary: That was (sniffles) beautiful!

Anna: We should do a book together. I've already got a couple of wonderful ideas for pictures.

Liz: Wow! You are amazing! I feel so sorry for you, loving your string cheese, and yet, not being able to have it, because you are allergic.

Scarface: You call that poetry? That's crap! What were those bongo things for anyway? They just seemed to make a lot of noise.

Announcer: Alright, I believe the judges have reached a verdict. If I could have the two contestants stand out here, please (Bob and Shakespeare stand in front of the panel table). Thank you. Now, Chet, let's do the honors.

Chet: Thank you, Brad (Opens up a large leather bound portfolio). It seems that all the judges were in agreement except for one. Bob White, you are our new champion of poetry! Sorry, Master Shakespeare.

Shakespeare: But, but, I used the rules! My works are considered classics! This boy is but an untalented novice! Surely there is some mistake!

Announcer: Security! (Two burly security guards take Shakespeare out of the stadium as the bard struggles to escape.)

Chet: That's all for this episode of Sonnet Battle! Come back next week when we pit our new champion, Bob White, against a newcomer to the competitive poetry circuit, Lord Byron! (Credits roll)