Here’s a fascinating piece about actors doing a production of Romeo and Juliet with a unique twist: They’re deaf, and are therefore translating the play into sign language.

This creates some interesting implications, doesn’t it? We often talk about the universality of Shakespeare’s language, but does it lose some of it’s majesty when that language isn’t spoken? Shakespeare is often done in translation, but it’s usually translated into verse. There’s no verse or iambic pentameter in sign language.

But there’s yet another level:

In this staging of the tragedy. Romeo’s family will be hearing and Juliet’s will be deaf. The rivalry between the Capulets and Montagues won’t be because of racial differences or class boundaries. Instead, the conflict will rise from different types of cultural differences, gaps rooted in communication and language.

Wow! Right? The idea that the Capulets and Montagues fight over linguistic differences is so fascinating and such a new turn on an old plot. And what’s more relevant to Shakespeare than a study in the importance of language? What do you all think of this?

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