Posts tagged ‘Romeo and Juliet’

ABC Planning “Romeo and Juliet” Series

Purists beware.

It looks like ABC is planning on launching a new series based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but what’s nerve-wracking about it is the directorial choice: Catherine Hardwicke, known for directing Twilight. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum of literary quality.

On the other hand, maybe Hardwicke has untapped classical talent. But we’ve yet to see it. Something tells me her version of the old classic will resemble Baz Luhrmann’s more than anything. And I’m not a strict purist, but there’s a limit.

Still, in fairness, I’ll reserve judgment until I see it.

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This Week’s Podcast: Season 1, Episode 8

Hey everyone. The most recent episode of our podcast is live. This week, Susan and I talk about Shakespeare on film and in live theatre; the challenges of playing Hamlet; Sir Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth; and a cartoon retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

You can listen to it by subscribing via this RSS feed, clicking the link in the sidebar on the right, or just clicking here. (Give it some time to load; it’s a large file.)

If you have any thoughts on the show or this episode, or anything you’d like us to talk about next week, feel free to leave a comment here on this blog, or write to me at podcast@twelfthnighttheatre.org. Enjoy!

Getting Even With Shakespeare

I was fortunate enough to see this wonderfully clever comedy last night. It was originally part of NYC’s Fringe Festival, but the run extended. (But not for long! The last shows are this weekend, so if you’re in New York and want to see the show, check out the link for shows this weekend.)

The premise: Hamlet, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet are forced, by the laws of metaphysics, to “attend” every performance of the plays that bear their name. And since they die in unpleasant ways, that’s no fun for them. They spend their days in a bar complaining about their creator, until a former-playwright-turned-lawyer comes into the bar and proposes a way to get revenge.

If you’re expecting lots of Shakespeare-related jokes, you might be a little disappointed. Which isn’t to say a familiarity with the plays isn’t helpful. But beyond a few Hamlet-wants-Gertrude jokes (which are pretty old hat and overdone), the magic of the characters is in how distinct they are from their Shakespearian counterparts and how they seem to have grown from their experience of being them, night after night after night.

And it’s meta on many levels. The writer of the play is, in fact, a theater lover who went to law school and is an attorney, and he speaks through the character in the play that bears his name. He doesn’t regret his choices, but says he has always wanted to be a part of the theater, and this was his opportunity.

Anyway, if you have the opportunity, go see it. You’ll thank yourself.

This Week’s Podcast: Season 1, Episode 6

Hey everyone. The most recent episode of our podcast is live. This week, Susan and I talk about Aeschylus’s Oresteia in performance; Romeo and Juliet in sign language; the Macbeths’ marriage; and King Lear’s dramatic qualities.

You can listen to it by subscribing via this RSS feed, clicking the link in the sidebar on the right, or just clicking here. (Give it some time to load; it’s a large file.)

If you have any thoughts on the show or this episode, or anything you’d like us to talk about next week, feel free to leave a comment here on this blog, or write to me at podcast@twelfthnighttheatre.org. Enjoy!

Shakespeare in American Sign Language

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?