When I read about the death of the Pinta Island Tortoise Lonesome George and the species unfortunate extinction, I thought “what a tragedy.”
When I saw his picture, I thought “ … by Shakespeare”.
Not only does George wind up dead at the end of the tale (a major requirement in any downer by the Bard), but he’s probably misunderstood and totally delusional. After all, wouldn’t you be?
Imagine – everyone around George hesitates to put it into words, but they look at him with a profound sense of pity. He is, after all, the last of his kind. They try to make his sad predicament more bearable by providing the company of one or more Lady Tortoises, but George feigns a lack of interest. He is actually quite randy, as old tortoises go, but he is waiting. Only another Pinta Island Tortoise can win his love.
Although there is this ONE she-tortoise, Gregarious Jane, who looks pretty good … great, in fact. But George cannot allow himself to fall in love because his responsibility is to the ages.
It breaks his heart, but he must remain available in case another Pinta Island Tortoise comes along. What are the chances? Almost nil, and yet …
Meanwhile, the Lady Jane confides to her (hilarious) Reptile-in-Waiting MeShell that she IS, in fact, a certified, pedigreed P.I.T., but she forbids anyone to mention it to George because she does not want to be loved only as a means to forestall extinction. If he can’t love her for who she is without regard for the effect it might have on posterity, well … maybe it’s better that the species disappears forever.
Lovers always think the world revolves around them!
Hmmm. Now that I consider it, there could be some silly hijinks, a bit of cross-dressing and a little mistaken identity back-and-forth with various characters hiding in their shells while other tortoises parade across the stage and talk as if no one else is in the room … and it could wind up as a comedy after all.
But George and Jane would have to realize their true identities and see that they are, in fact, right for one another.
But no. He dies. So alas, it’s a tragedy. Unless you have a better idea.
What ho! Supply a character, a line, or some story element for your version of Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy (or Comedy) of Lonesome George”.