Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears; and sometime voices,
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.” —― William Shakespeare, The Tempest (via lonelyheartsdeathmetal)
That’s a really interesting spin on the story.
I’d like to know more, though…when does the action of the play take place? In the hospital? Or is it a flashback to how she got to the hospital?
I do kind of like the idea of a group of psychiatric patients unintentionally playing out Romeo and Juliet through their separate but coinciding delusions. Perhaps Juliet feels she is taken away from Romeo when it’s bed time and they have to be put in separate rooms? Perhaps, instead of a drug dealer, the “friar” is the medication nurse who gives her her nightly sleeping meds.
Imagine even further that this is a cycle that repeats itself daily…what kind of a play would THAT be?!
Excellent inspiration, taolangpo!
I mentioned that briefly, that the only way to tackle the communications issue and lack of the parental control of the Elizabethan period was to try for some kind of dystopia. A religious dictatorship, like something from The Handmaid’s Tale would definitely fit the parameters of keeping teens from communicating and having the freedoms they do in our current society.
I absolutely agree. West Side Story is as close to a pitch perfect modernization as I think we’ll ever see of Romeo and Juliet. Even the change in ending where Tony dies at the hand of the kind of gang rivalry that is present in the original story but Maria doesn’t kill herself is much more realistic for modern times than the double suicide.
Thank you! That’s an excellent thought, as well, to use an updated version as a study/commentary on social media, not just as the story changed to fit the times. I’d like to see such a production.
I disagree. I know many people who have run away. Especially in severely oppressive families, if the option is a) be with the one you love in a different city/state or 2) kill yourself, I do think that option a) would at least be attempted. I do like the idea of a crisis as the reason for the lack of communication. It would make for a very interesting production.
I agree! This is an interesting point. I’m glad other people are thinking about this stuff, too!
That sounds like a fantastic production. I really like the idea of looking at the dysfunction within the family instead of just between the two feuding families.
I definitely understand the finality of the teenage mind, and especially a mind prone to suicidal ideation. But it still seems to me that the first option would be to try to be with the lover before taking their own life. Now, if the lover was already dead, then I’d consider that suicide would be the first option. But with the freedoms most teens have now, I don’t think suicide would be first. But we’re talking hypothetical fictions here, so it’s really not too big a deal to agree to disagree. ;)
Thanks, everyone, for your awesome comments! You guys are absolutely the best followers a blog could have!
You guys are so awesome!
There were so many great responses to my musings post that I wanted to keep the conversation going, so I’m going to reply to those replies.
Bear with me if I miss replies that come in after the replies post. Always feel free to send a response to the ask box if you want to get my attention faster than replying to a post!
I’ll have that post up tomorrow! Stay tuned, groundlings!
So, I’m watching Romeo and Juliet and wondering why people in tragedies or epic stories make the decisions they do that bring them to the torments they inevitably endure.
I realize the easy answer is, “the author wrote them to.” But, having been a writer (perhaps even as a writer in the present tense?), I know that characters often take on a mind of their own, as they say, and, especially when characters are based on actual events, they are based on the decisions made by real people in similar (although perhaps less fantastic) circumstances. But no less extreme, I’d say.
I’m thinking particularly about modernizing Romeo and Juliet, and I can find almost no way to do it in which the ONLY route either youth has is to commit suicide over the death of the other. In the age of social media and instant communication, it’s almost impossible to imagine that a message could not get to Romeo SOMEHOW that Juliet is not really dead. I can go through every scenario and always find a flaw that keeps them from finishing the play the way it was written.
a) EVERY rich kid has a cell phone. Every POOR kid has a fucking cell phone. EVERYONE has a motherfucking cell phone nowadays, or at least knows someone with a cell phone they can use to send a text and be like, “yo this is Julie plz tell Romeo I’m taking a potion to make me look dead come get me in the tomb when I wake up.”
Now, it’s possible her parents steal her phone and she can’t get to a friend’s phone to text this. OK. I’ve got that covered.
2) The PRIEST probably has a fucking cell phone. Or at least email. So maybe that doesn’t work because he doesn’t have Romeo’s number or anyone else’s number in Romeo’s posse and still has to send a snail mail letter or call on a landline. So maybe the priest still doesn’t reach Romeo. I get this, it could happen.
I’ve still got that covered.
d) We live in the 21st century. Unless this version of the story is taking place in India, Pakistan, or maybe even China, no parents can make a teenage child get married against their will.
Now, before you go, but Rachel, arranged marriages still happen even in America, I’m aware of this. But, in this enlightened age, there’s no way in hell Juliet wouldn’t just run away before choosing death, and even if she’s arrested or picked up by social services at any point during the course of events, she can explain to the cops and/or social worker about her home life and they can set her up in foster care or at least keep her from being forced to marry! Then all she has to do is wait 2 years until she’s 18 and then she can do whatever the fuck she wants, so there’s really no need for the sleep of death potion in the first place, thus no mix up, thus no suicides.
The only real way to remake Romeo and Juliet for modern times is to create an alternate reality society in which we don’t have immediate access to incredibly fast communication, and that parents would have to have the kind of control over their children that they used to, without any allowance for interference from outside sources (i.e. child abuse laws, child labor laws, age of consent, etc.) Anything else and the suspension of disbelief becomes too great for an audience to be able to cope with. Or, at least, an audience that understands that the change in society changes the environments that shape the decisions of these characters.
So that’s what I’ve been thinking. How are all of you? :-P