Hamlet: The Prince accepts that his uncle Claudius is a killer, but, what Denmark is so innocent? Denmark has a lot of killers.
NOTE: Audiences are instructed not to read too heavily into the fact that the entire play takes place in a gilded castle, utterly cut off from the rest of Denmark, and ends with the unopposed invasion of the country by a northern strongman, fresh from attacking Poland.
The Merchant of Venice: No change. Emphasis is placed on Christian grandstanding at the end. Stage directions for the, “Do we not bleed?” speech are now disgustingly literal.
Julius Caesar: The same, but the provocative civil war and assassination plots have been removed. Jokes at the expense of foreign Greeks retained.
Much Ado About Nothing: Now a bitter satire of the media’s failure to cover terrorist attacks. No longer involves Spanish princes. Infidelity by women continues to be legitimate grounds for forced suicide.
Measure for Measure: Probably fine.
The Tempest: Minor changes. Prospero’s brother, the usurping Duke, is now the hero. Caliban’s role has been reduced, as in Act I a wall is constructed across the island to keep him out. Ariel is forced to pay for the wall. Relationship between Prospero and his daughter still uncomfortable.
Richard III: Richard demands, “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!”, and gets the best horse, a fabulous horse, believe me, this horse, what is maybe important is, this horse is really big. His promise of a kingdom in exchange is neither literal nor serious, played well in the campaign didn’t it, but now we don’t care.
The Taming of the Shrew: Thumbs up, tame that shrew. No longer even pretends to be a comedy. Obsession with women’s dress now oddly ahead of its time.
Macbeth: The same, though no one is destroyed by guilt for their crimes against a living country. A golf course is expanded.
Richard II: This story of an out of touch and gold obsessed King, completely in thrall to his corrupt advisors and eventually overthrown by a man of the people, is no longer relevant to our times, and can be safely ignored.