Things I want from a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet:
- Everyone is dressed in traditional costuming, but the script is in modern English.
- “Romeo, Romeo, why the FUCK did you have to be ROMEO?”
- Juliet talks like a rich white valley girl and wears a flower crown.
- She keeps taking inappropriately timed selfies and posting them on instagram.
- Tybalt won’t stop talking about his crossfit regime.
- Romeo only listens to My Chemical Romance.
- Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech is followed by Benvolio asking “Are you high right now?” (He is)
- Mercutio dabs on stage. Unironically. More than once.
- When the boys are all catcalling Nurse it’s super cringy.
- instead of “a sail! A sail!” You get “Hey Fatass!” “Fatass? I just see a boat!” “Weigh anchor! You’re gonna break the docks, Fatass!”
- Tybalt also dabs on stage, exactly twice.
- The first time is awful and his friends have to correct him.
- Tybalt dabs at Mercutio and Mercutio responds by doing a backflip and ending in a dab.
- The Tybalt/Mercutio fight is an absolutely serious dancebattle with no weapons.
- Mercutio still dies anyway.
- Tybalt tries to dance battle Romeo too, but Romeo keeps taking it too seriously and not dancing back.
- This is because Romeo only knows how to ballroom dance.
- Paris wears a trillby and calls it a fedora.
- Juliet Snapchats her own death.
- Romeo doesn’t have Snapchat.
so a traveling shakespeare troupe came to my school today and performed romeo and juliet and it was just so good and
-the actor playing romeo was hella short and the actor playing benvolio was hella tall. at several points he just picked romeo up and moved him around the stage/out of his way.
-when the nurse delivered juliet’s letter they played it up like she was flirting with mercutio but mercutio just looked at her, wrapped his arm around benvolio, and more or less gave her an expression that said “i’m gay”
-when mercutio and benvolio were making fun of romeo for being Heterosexual™ (aka for loving juliet), benvolio picked him up and mercutio gave him a purple nurple
-juliet wore no shoes throughout the entire show except during the wedding when she wore these giant sparkly pink pumps with platform heels
-when mercutio gave the queen mab speech they had benvolio stand behind him and click castanets and go “ooooooooh” every time he dropped a dramatic line
-they had friar lawerance and the nurse say the prologue and the end lines and like…..that changed the impact of the lines and their character significantly. i’ve made a post or two about this before but i personally interpret romeo and juliet as a story about two kids too afraid to come to their parents with a problem because they’re afraid of repercussions. but what about the adults in their life that DID try to help with them with their problems, but still ended up failing them? let’s just say it hit hard and was very telling when the friar and the nurse choked out the last lines of the play while sobbing.
-whenever there was a fight scene, mercutio and benvolio were constantly trying to keep romeo away from the action, as if he was their younger brother who they didn’t want to get hurt in a brawl. during mercutio’s fight with tybalt, benvolio was shielding romeo with his body and physically picked him up and held him back at times. that really changed the dynamic of the three of them and made it even funnier when ben and merc were teasing romeo about his crush on juliet.
-romeo killed paris by hitting him on the head with a flashlight
-the apothecary that sold romeo poison was dressed up as your typical TV drug dealer and he acted like one as well
-while benvolio more or less disappears from the written play after romeo is banished, they kept him around this time and he followed romeo around to make sure he was okay but didn’t say anything. it was implied he didn’t talk because he was still grieving mercutio. (he also wasn’t there when romeo killed himself)
-i was watching it with a bunch of freshmen who hadn’t read the play before but when juliet killed herself nearly half the room started screaming because they were so shocked
honestly this cast was just so good. i’ve also seen them perform julius caesar set in a modern politician’s world and m*cbeth in a post-apocalyptic setting. i absolutely loved this production and i hope i can see more of their work soon
romeo and juliet: suburban july. scraped knees, bruised knuckles, blood in your teeth. bare feet on hot concrete. restlessness. your high school’s empty parking lot. love poems in your diary. a window open to coax in a breeze. burning inside. an ill-fitting party dress, a t-shirt you cut up yourself, the time you tried to give yourself bangs. biking to your friend’s house. bubble gum. gas station ice. the feeling that you’ve met before. rebellion. a car radio playing down the street. cheap fireworks. a heart drawn on the inside of your wrist with sharpie. switchblades. red solo cups. dancing in your bedroom. screaming yourself hoarse. running out of options. the forlorn-looking basketball hoop at the end of the cul-de-sac. climbing onto your roof at night while your parents are asleep. flip-flops. a eulogy written on looseleaf. the merciless noontime sun.
hamlet: speaking in a whisper. holding your breath. a browning garden. a half-remembered story. furniture covered with sheets. fog at dawn, mist at twilight. losing touch. the ethereal space between winter and spring. the soft skin at your temple. the crack in the hallway mirror. things you’d say if you knew the words. uncombed hair. books with writing in the margins, books with cracked spines, books with lines scratched out. prayers on all souls’ day. a chipped ceramic bathtub. a cold stone floor. uncomfortable awareness of your own heartbeat. the sparrow that got in your house. shadows. the creek you played in as a child. a dirty night gown. a big black t-shirt. a collection of your favorite words. soil under your nails. ghost stories. the strangeness of your own name in your mouth. deep silence. exhaustion. a cliff with a long, long drop down.
twelfth night: wicker deck furniture. new england summer. big dark sunglasses and a blonde bob. a storm over the ocean, patio umbrellas flapping in the wind. chlorine smell. muffled laughter. sarcasm. starched cuffs. day drinking. bay windows. the idea of love, love for the idea of love, love for love’s sake. hangovers. wandering over the sand dunes. a vagabond with a guitar, a crab fisherman with tattoos, a pretty boy with a slackened tie. a light house. growing too close. boat shoes. feeling yourself change. finger guns. big floppy sun hats. double-speak. a song you keep listening to. turning red under their gaze. margaritas drunk on an inflatable pool lounger. string lights on a balmy night. sleepy june days. fights you’re unprepared for, hope you weren’t expecting, pranks that go too far. bad poetry. pining. pool noodles. becoming less of a stranger.
macbeth: the space where your grief used to be. a bird that’s lost an eye. old blood stains. heavy blinds. the smell of sweat, the stillness after battle. a fake smile. a curse. the taste of metal at the back of your tongue. your house, unfamiliar in the dark. a dusty crib. a sulfur smell. an orange pill bottle. streaks in the sink. a black cocktail dress. your hand on the doorknob, shaking. chilly breeze. crunching from the gravel driveway on a moonless night. clenched hands. a rusty swing set. a flashing digital clock stuck on 12:00. a snake that crosses your path, an owl that watches you, a dog that runs when you approach. red smoke. dark clouds. cool steel. tile floors. footsteps in the hallway late at night. a baggy suit that used to fit before. visions. insomnia headaches. nursery rhymes. being too far in to go back now.
much ado about nothing: the high drama of small towns. a pickup truck, military supply duffel bags in the hall, hugs all around. tulip bulbs. a wraparound porch, a pitcher of iced tea. barbecue. a rubber halloween mask. someone on your level. indian summer. ill-timed proclamations. stomach-clutching laughter. rushing in. not minding your business. crepe paper. white lies. secrets written down and thrown away. southern hospitality. homemade curtains in the kitchen, a sink full of roses. hiding in the bushes. old friends. the wedding dress your grandma wore, and her mama before her. a dog-eared rhyming dictionary. camomile with honey. the intimacy of big parties. lawn flamingos. gossip. a crowded church. friendly rivalries. unfriendly rivalries. shit getting real. love at five hundredth sight. not realizing you have a home until you’re there.
king lear: cement block buildings. power lines that birds never perch on. the end of the world. useless words. rainless thunder, heat lightning, a too-big sky. arthritic knuckles. broken glass. chalk cliffs. the pulsing red-black behind closed eyes. something you learned too late. wet mud that sucks up your shoes while you walk. a cold stare. empty picture frames. empty prayers. the obscenity of seeing your parents cry. a treeless landscape. bloody rags. grappling in the dark with reaching hands. the sharpness at the tips of your teeth. the blown-out windows of skeletal houses. decay. jokes that aren’t jokes, shutting up, holding your tongue. prophecies. aching muscles, tired feet. stinging rain. invoking the gods, wondering if the gods are listening, wondering if the gods are dead. white noise. shivers. numbness. the unequivocal feeling of ending.
a midsummer night’s dream: wet soil/dead leaves smell. listening to music on headphones with your eyes closed. wildflowers. the distant sparkle of lightning bugs. a pill somebody slipped you. fear that turns to excitement, excitement that turns to frenzy. mossy tree trunks. a pair of yellow eyes in the darkness. night swimming. moonlight through the leaves. a bass beat in your chest. a butterfly landing on your nose. a kiss from a stranger. a dark hollow in an old tree. glow-in-the-dark paint. drinking on an empty stomach. a twig breaking behind you. spinning until you’re dizzy. finding glitter on your body and not remembering where it came from. an overgrown path through the woods. cool dew on your skin. a dream that fades with waking. moths drawn to the light. giving yourself over, completely. afterglow. the long, loving, velvety night.
romeo and juliet were just kids making dumb decisions in an impossible situation, why criticise them when u could lay the blame on the grown ass adults who let the younger generation carry on their pointless feud, to the point where they’d created such a toxic hateful environment that it was viscerally unsafe for their children to experience the pangs of first love