Thursday, November 25, 2010

Romeo & Juliet

Since I'd finished studying my Dummies' Guide To Shakespeare, I decided to get a single copy of Romeo & Juliet and read it properly. I'd read it before, but I wasn't really that good at reading Shakespeare before this so I don't think it even counts. So I bought Romeo & Juliet at MPH - btw, our bookstores have really bad Shakespearean stock - and started reading.

The couple of hours I spent finishing Romeo & Juliet changed my entire take on the play. Before this, I thought what a lot of people thought. Two youngsters from warring families, fall in forbidden love at first sight, get engaged, get married, and get torn apart all in the span of 24 hours. (No kidding.) And then because Juliet doesn't want to get married off to someone else, she takes a sleeping draught that makes everyone thinks she's dead, including Romeo, who breaks into her tomb and kills himself with real poison out of grief. Then Juliet wakes up, sees Romeo dead and kills herself with a dagger. And this is me leaving out a lot of other killings too.

But while reading, I fell in love with Romeo and Juliet. Yes, I fell in love with the two of them. There's actually a lot of depth to the play, you know? More depth to the characters than you'd imagine. And now I could actually understand what they were saying, I found that what they were saying was beautiful. Truly. The play is funny, too. And this is me saying that even after a rather brief read. I didn't even refer to the notes at the bottom of the page, the reason I bought a single copy to read instead of lugging out my huge collective Shakespeare works. I'm going to read it for the third time now, this time including all the little notes.

But falling in love with Romeo and Juliet wasn't such a good idea, because the play is called "The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet". Check out the red-inked word. Now, I don't think the whole committing suicide thing at the end is stupid. I just find it really sad. Oh, how I wish that this play was a comedy, and that Romeo and Juliet had lived happily ever after!

I just watched the Romeo + Juliet (1996) VCD I had lying around. It's in a pretty modern setting, but they still use the original words of the play, although they did shorten some scenes, so for the first half of the movie, where all the really beautiful words are, I was sitting in front of the screen with the play in my hand, following the lines of the actors with the lines in my book. I think I'd watched the first ten minutes of this movie some years ago on Astro. I knew I gave up then because I thought they were all speaking funny and truth be told, the movie is weird - director Baz Luhrmann must be a pretty nutty guy.

But O me! (Haha.) I loved Leonardo diCaprio and Claire Danes as Romeo and Juliet! They were spectacular. Honestly. 

I can't compare them to other actors of the same role, of course, seeing as this is the only R&J movie I've watched, but I've never seen Leo act this well. He was really great; I loved him.

And Claire Danes, the star from Stardust. I think she captured Juliet  perfectly.

All in all...

...they substituted swords with guns...

...but some things...

... never change.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't seen the other movies or read any books or seen the play, but I loved the modern movie. I only watched it because we has to study it for english this term, but it was really good. It's such a good story and their great actors. Unfortunately, i can't watch the DVD again bacause my family can't stand it and I never have thr house to myself :(