Did anyone play some Shakespeare pranks at the beginning of this week?
Maybe something like cross-dressing…or take a potion that makes you seem like you’re dead for a couple days…or taking someone’s handkerchief?
Actually none of those end well…except the cross-dressing, oddly enough.
This will be an abbreviated Foolery this week, as I have been very busy directing both Romeo and Juliet and Othello with young actors (ranging from 3rd to 5th grade for R&J and 7th grade for Othello). My life has been an episode of Kids Say the Darndest Things: Shakespeare Edition for the past month.
It’s like when the actor playing the Prologue and the Prince starts the play by yelling, “Rebellious subjects! Enemies to peace!” before realizing what she should be saying is, “Two households!” Or Juliet, who won’t let Romeo get less than twelve inches from her. I swear she wriggled her lifeless body away from him in the tomb. Thus with a kiss he died…a kiss he had to blow over to her. Ah, cooties. I had forgotten about those.
Romeo and Juliet is actually a great example of a foolish tragedy. Look at the characters: Mercutio, the Nurse, even Romeo and Juliet seem like they should be living in a comedy. It’s easy to enjoy the fun parts in the first half and forget about how it ends so poorly. It’s such a mixture of light and dark.
Othello, on the other hand, keeps it all pretty serious. Except when the students won’t stop giggling when they should be dying. Or dead. Or stabbed. Or when they ask if Shakespeare had a “messed-up childhood.” And it gets a little too serious when Iago talks about drowning cats and blinding puppies. He gets really into that line.
O Legolas, Legolas…
Speaking of Romeo and Juliet, Orlando Bloom is coming to Broadway in the star-crossed title role this fall, opposite Condola Rashad. The production’s concept is based on a racial divide, the Capulets are an all-black household, the Montagues all white. Hmmm…the Romeo and Juliet story but with race as a divisive factor? It’s new…it’s fresh…but gee, Officer Krupke, it does remind me of something…
But if this production needs a musical score, I have some suggestions. It’s not Bernstein, but it’ll have to do:
“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson, while heinously overplayed, is seriously appropriate for our young lovers, who leap before they look.
“We found love in a hopeless place…”
Rihanna (ft. Calvin Harris), pretty self-explanatory.
One Direction, the little boy band that could, want us to “Live While We’re Young.” If only Romeo and Juliet had listened to the first part of that…
LMNT, the little boy band that couldn’t, succeeded in this one song, “Juliet,” which has the only lyric I know that references “paging” someone.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older…”
Beach Boys. Painfully ironic.
See ya next week, Shakespeare fools!