Alabama’s great football rivalry gets the Shakespearean treatment it deserves

The drama's been there since Alabama's star quarterback started dating Miss Alabama, an Auburn grad.

 

Kevin Collier

Internet Culture

Published Nov 30, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 12:52 am CDT

College football’s great rivalries often have an air of high, epic drama. Shakespearean, you might say.

And so it makes sense, sorta, for The New Yorker’s senior Web producer, Caitlin Kelly to tweet a version of Romeo and Juliet, reimagined as the Iron Bowl, the annual matchup of the state of Alabama’s two great teams, the Auburn Tigers and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.

She does sure does have quite the cast to work with: Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and his coach Nick Saban, Auburn QB Nick Marshall and his coach Gus Malzahn. And then there’s Miss Alabama, Katherine Webb, who happens to be both an Auburn grad and McCarron’s girlfriend.  With all that raw material, Kelly put the Bard’s words to the sweet music of SEC football.

A partial selection from the prologue:

TWO HOUSEHOLDS, both alike in dignity, In fair ‘Bama, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny…

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

…Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean (and potentially in violation of the NCAA).

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

From forth the iron loins of these two foes, A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

Whose misadventured piteous overshares, Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

On to the drama:

SAMPSON: Nay, as they dare. I will say “Troll Tide” at them, which is a disgrace to them if they Bear it.

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

ABRAM: Do you say Troll Tide to us, sir? SAMPSON: I do say Troll Tide, sir. ABRAM: DO YOU SAY TROLL TIDE TO US, SIR?

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

SAMPSON: [Aside to Gregory] Is the NCAA going to like it if I say ay? GREGORY: No.

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

SAMPSON: No, sir, I do not say Troll Tide to you, sir; but I say…um…Troll Bride? Sir? GREGORY: Do you quarrel, sir?

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

*Enter Ricardo* GREGORY:[Aside to Sampson] Say “better.” Here comes one of my master’s teammates. SAMPSON: Yes, better, sir. ABRAM: You lie.

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

SAMPSON: Draw, if you be men, because warrior culture is still alive and well in football. Gregory, remember thy washing blow.

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

*They fight, which gets one line and this is why kids hate reading plays in school*

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

*They fight. Enter citizens* ALABAMANS: Clubs, teams, and football fans! Strike! Beat them down! Down with ‘Bama! Down with Auburn!

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

*They fight. Enter citizens* ALABAMANS: Clubs, teams, and football fans! Strike! Beat them down! Down with ‘Bama! Down with Auburn!

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

*Enter old Saban in his polo and his Wife* SABAN: What noise is this? Give me my long sword, ho! [saw no need to change this.]

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

MRS. SABAN: A crutch! A crutch! Why call you for a sword! SABAN: My sword, I say! Old Malzahn is come To flourish his blade in spite of me.

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

MALZAHN: Thou villain Saban!—Hold me not, let me go. MRS. MALZAHN: You just got this job, which I will not let you blow.

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

NICK MARSHALL: But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the SEC West, and Katherine is the sun!

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

Auburn and Alabama, who have combined for every BCS championship trophy of the past four years, began play Saturday at 3:30 EST. But Kelly, who told the Daily Dot she’s a fan of college football in general, but of neither team in particular, signed off before then.

[<— looks at watch, looks at cliffs notes of Romeo and Juliet] Everyone dies. Except Saban. The End!

— Caitlin Kelly (@atotalmonet) November 30, 2013

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: Nov 30, 2013, 6:16 pm CST