To Be Or Not To Be To bedazzle, or not to bedazzle? In the spirit of Hamlet's famous soliloquy, all the answers in this game begin with the letters "B-E." Now give us your best dramatic read.
NPR logo

To Be Or Not To Be

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/361482990/362009311" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
To Be Or Not To Be

To Be Or Not To Be

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/361482990/362009311" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: From NPR and WNYC, live from the Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, New York, it's NPR's hour of puzzles, board games and trivia - ASK ME ANOTHER. And here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thank you, Jonathan. We have an amazing guest for you. You might know him from "Dead Poets Society," "Training Day," "Boyhood," or his truly influential movie, "Reality Bites." Yes, because it led a generation of women like me to believe that if you're really patient, things will end happily ever after with a tortured musician that is so good-looking.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I'm going to have to ask Ethan back for my 20s, but anyhow, of course, our VIP is Ethan Hawke.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And let's welcome our first two contestants to play a game called To Be Or Not To Be, Caleb Rotach and Terri Pous.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Caleb, what is your favorite Shakespearean play?

CALEB ROTACH: That was my biggest fear - going on here...

EISENBERG: Really?

ROTACH: ...It'll be Shakespeare. Yeah.

EISENBERG: OK.

ROTACH: Because I'm a theater major...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

ROTACH: ...And I feel like if I screw up...

EISENBERG: Well, but your favorite - how could you screw up?

ROTACH: OK, favorite - favorite has to be "As You Like It."

EISENBERG: Great answer...

ROTACH: Yup.

EISENBERG: ...And why specifically?

ROTACH: Two reasons - one, best female protagonist. Right? You can't - you can't beat her?

EISENBERG: Yeah, I already think you won this whole thing.

ROTACH: Oh, sweet. Good. Sorry. Thanks for showing up Terri but...

EISENBERG: Yeah, haven't heard from Terri. Yeah, good job.

ROTACH: ...And second most - phallic jokes.

EISENBERG: All right, inter - that is interesting couple of things.

ROTACH: It is, isn't it? Yeah.

EISENBERG: Yeah, they almost cancel each other out. Terri, how about you?

TERRI POUS: It would have to be "Hamlet" because that is what they based "Lion King" off of.

(LAUGHTER)

POUS: Well, "Lion King" is based on.

EISENBERG: Yeah, OK. I - you guys are so modern.

ROTACH: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: So Ethan Hawke once played Hamlet as a modern-day film student. You guys get to play Hamlet as a game show contestant. So we've tweeted his famous to be or not to be soliloquy to include other words that begin with the letters B - E. To help me run this game is our one man house band, Jonathan Coulton.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Hello.

EISENBERG: Can you give them an example?

COULTON: I would be happy to. If I said, Hamlet said this while he thought about cinching his tunic at the waist for a more figure-flattering look, you would answer to belt or not to belt.

ROTACH: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

ROTACH: I would.

COULTON: Yes, you would. Yes, you would.

EISENBERG: Yes. It's like a - it's like a - it's a groaner game is what it is. So give us your best dramatic reading when you answer. And here's a hint - not all of your answers will be verbs. OK? And the winner will move on to our Ask Me One final round at the end of the show. Hamlet said this while mulling over a trip to a Central American country bordered by Mexico and Guatemala.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

ROTACH: To Belize or not to Belize.

EISENBERG: Exactly, that is the question.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Evoking a certain Grammy winning diva, Hamlet sang this while contemplating asking his girlfriend, Ophelia, to put a ring on it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Terri.

POUS: To Beyonce or not to Beyonce.

COULTON: Indeed, that is the question.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: That's a funny thing 'cause your name is Ophelia.

EISENBERG: Yes, it is.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah, you know what kind of ring Ophelia could've used? A life preserver. (LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: No one tossed that to her. That is staying in the show.

ROTACH: (Laughter). Too soon. It's been 500 years, guys. Come on.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: A lot of people are not ready to move on.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's a crowd that loves their Shakespeare. They're like, wait a second. Hamlet uttered this while considering a pair of oversized headphones from a company named after a rapper.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Caleb.

ROTACH: To Beats by Dre or not to Beats by Dre.

(APPLAUSE)

ROTACH: (Laughter). To not is the answer to that question.

COULTON: Hamlet exclaimed this while adorning poor Yorick's skull with self-adhering rhinestones using a classic "As Seen On TV" gizmo.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Terri.

POUS: To Bedazzler or not to Bedazzler.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: And we also know the answer to that.

POUS: Bedazzler.

EISENBERG: Always.

ROTACH: Always.

POUS: Always.

EISENBERG: While trying to talk to his father's ghost, Hamlet accidentally summoned the title character of a 1988 Tim Burton film and said this.

(SOUNDBITE OR BELL)

POUS: To Beetlejuice or not to Beetlejuice.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Hamlet said this while kicking around the idea of performing Elle Woods' signature male-attracting move from the film, "Legally Blonde."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL RING)

COULTON: Terri.

POUS: To bend and snap or not to bend and snap.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Absolutely correct.

EISENBERG: We are such idiots for not knowing that.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This is your last question - Hamlet muttered this in front of the fridge over a pint of Cherry Garcia ice cream.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL RING)

EISENBERG: Caleb.

ROTACH: To Ben and Jerry's or not to Ben and Jerry's.

EISENBERG: Exactly.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Puzzle guru John Chaneski, how did our contestants do?

JOHN CHANESKI: Well, it was close, but it looks like Terri is going to be the contestant moving on to the final round. Way to go, Terri.

(APPLAUSE)

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.