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27 February 2010

and they didn't live happily ever after

i'm still ecstatic about the theater night i had yesterday. my friend viviana bought me a ticket for the romeo and juliet's play as a birthday present, so yesterday night we ventured out in the storm to reach the lovely rossetti theater and enjoy the show.

the cast was young and very talented, the prose translated in a brilliant way and i particularly loved the lights on the stage, underlined by a nice music. yes, this version followed the tradition of employing music for stage plays during the victorian period when shakespeare lived. all this performed in one of the loveliest theaters i ever saw. it has a beautiful roof with clouds, which lights on with stars seconds before the show debuts. i was lucky enough to capture it.

i took a few shots of the play too but i won't post them here. i don't want to be taken to court for copyright, i know it was forbidden. i'll just copy the most intense scene, the balcony one, which comes from a safer book, my shakespeare plays collection from university.

Act 2, Scene 2

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!
Ay me!
She speaks:
O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
As glorious to this night, being o'er my head
As is a winged messenger of heaven
Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
And sails upon the bosom of the air.
O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.
[Aside] Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

painting by frank dicksee

with these poetic words, shakespeare teaches a lesson of beauty and strenght of love. romeo and juliet were willing to die to stay together, no matter what. they overcame many obstacles and put aside differences. under the immense power of youth and love, the hatred between two families dissolve and this will always be a theme in our society. that's why the story is timeless and universal.

but ... we forget they're teenagers who meet at a ball and instantly fall in love, then decide to get married after knowing each other for one night. the main characters support their angst-filled heads with the idea that yes, they really are in love with that guy/girl they met five minutes ago, and no one can stop them, especially not their meddling parents

moreover, a love story like theirs could be punished. juliet is 14, and romeo a few years older. in some of the us states, like florida, thanks to the romeo and juliet laws, an older teen who has sex with his younger girlfriend can be arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for the act. even worse, he may carry the stigma of being labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life.

to support my opinion, i found this brilliant article by ph.d., j.d stanton peele. he believes that romeo and juliet  is what results when two unformed-maladjusted youths meet at vulnerable points in their lives and are then forcibly separated - addiction, withdrawal, suicide. the play ends with the lovers killing themselves, it's pervaded with death imagery and violence. contrary to the popular image that their warring families are the source of this violence, it stems from the lovers themselves, and is directed at themselves.

this is one funny version of r&j i read on goodreads. it was posted by a member, a young madeline and it's how she images the dialogues of the play.  it's fun and it made me laugh a lot.

ROMEO: I’m Romeo, and I used to be emo and annoying but now I’m so totally in luuuuurve and it’s AWESOME.
MERCUTIO: Okay, three things: One, there’s only room in this play for one awesome character and it’s me, bitch. Two, you’re still emo and annoying. Three, didn’t you say that exact same stuff yesterday about Rosaline?
*meanwhile, Juliet prances around her room and draws hearts on things and scribbles “Mrs. Juliet Montague” in her diary over and over. Because she is THIRTEEN. How old is Romeo supposed to be? Let’s not talk about that, k?*
CAPULET: Good news, Juliet! I found you a husband!
PARIS: Hello, I’m a complete tool.
JULIET: Daddy, I don’t want to marry that apparently decent and unflawed guy! I’m in love with Romeo Montague – we met yesterday and it was HOT.
JULIET: *stamps foot, runs off to her room to watch High School Musical again and sulk*
TYBALT: Hey Romeo, your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
ROMEO: No! You can’t fight him, Mercutio because I already married his cousin!
*Romeo attempts to stop the fight and fails miserably*
ROMEO: Okay, forget what I said about not fighting. I KEEL YOU!
TYBALT: *dies*
PRINCE: I’ve had enough of your shit, Emo McStabbypants. You’re banished.
ROMEO: Waaaaaahhhhhh! I’m banished and Juliet is going to marry another guy and it’s not fair WHY DOES GOD HATE ME?
FRIAR LAURENCE: Jesus Christ, not this again. Okay, if you promise to grow a pair, I’ll help you and your wife out. Here’s the plan: she takes a potion that’ll make her go into a coma, and then she’ll get put in the family tomb and then you’ll sneak back into town, break into the tomb, wait until she wakes up, and then the two of you escape and live happily ever after! It’s perfect!
AUDIENCE: …the hell?
*Shockingly, the plan fails. Romeo goes back to the tomb (pausing to kill Paris just for good measure), but he thinks Juliet’s dead and drinks poison and dies, and then like two seconds later she wakes up and sees that Romeo isn’t mostly dead like she was, he’s dead, so she stabs herself.*
MONTAGUE: Wow, we are awful parents.
CAPULET: I have an idea – let’s make solid gold statues of our dead children to commemorate their love and serve as a constant reminder of the fact that our only children killed themselves because we were such uncaring parents.
*they actually do this.*
SHAKESPEARE: Beat that, Stephenie Meyer.

the world is full of unknow talents! maybe we should ask madeline to write her own unique version of the finale, had romeo received the letter on time. i'm sure she could be even more hilarious!

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