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Northwestern University
English professors Susie Phillips and Katy Breenleft

Revel at the Rock

“Thou art a rank toad-spotted haggard,” an onlooker proclaimed.

“A dankish fool-born foot-licker,” another charged. 

Shakespearean insults swirled about the Rock on April 28, beginning with a one-on-one war of words between associate English professors Susie Phillips (left) and Katy Breen (right).

The spirited “insult battle” was a highlight of Revel at the Rock, an afternoon of street-style performances during the ShakespeaRevel, Northwestern’s 10-day celebration of the Bard.

The afternoon featured a compilation of Shakespeare’s death scenes; an aerial circus arts performance; Shakespearean-themed improv; and modern pop tunes recreated in sonnet form.

“If truly you did wish to win my hand, you should have graced it with a wedding band,” declared English Ph.D. candidate Andrew Keener in a nod to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” hit.

Presented by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Revel at the Rock was among 850 events across the Chicago area commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and quite possibly the only one featuring the utterance “You bootless ill-breeding measle.”

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