Everyone knows that if an infinite number of monkeys bash away at an infinite number of typewriters, then eventually one will write the complete works of Shakespeare.
So, in 2003, some researchers at the University of Plymouth decided to test this theory, at Paignton Zoo. Unfortunately they were limited to having only one month, one computer, and six monkeys (Sulawesi crested macaques Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan).
The initial results were not encouraging: “the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it… Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard”.
But who’s to say that isn’t how Shakespeare started out?
After a while the monkeys began to get the idea, and set to work enthusiastically. In such restricted conditions, it’s understandable that their final manuscript [pdf] lacks the intricacy of the bard’s work. Nevertheless, it’s a good first attempt, which I look forward to seeing on stage.