Saturday, May 01, 2010

Such Tweet Sorrow

Well, I don't know if you will have come across this before, but I discovered it yesterday - the new RSC twitter version of Romeo and Juliet. I heard about it on a radio programme I was listening to last night and decided to look it up. It's basically a modern Romeo and Juliet in Britain played out in real time via twitter by actors of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I've now read most of what's been going on and I find it rather fascinating. I think it's a fantastic way to get younger people involved, though perhaps is not the best in terms of getting good morals across (e.g. Friar Lawrence is a bit of a drug dealer, Romeo and Juliet had sex the first night they met etc.)
It's now about 3 weeks in, and I believe it lasts for 5 weeks, so I think I shall observe for the next 2 weeks with interest. It almost makes me want to get a twitter account so I can follow them, but really I can get around it, it's just a bit awkward. I was a bit annoyed with the website Such Tweet Sorrow, because I was attempting to read the timeline, but it's rather difficult, it seems to jump around timewise during a single day. However I've pretty much caught up now, so that'll do...

Some of it I really liked, such as how clear it is that Romeo and Juliet barely know each other and how quickly the whole Romeo-Juliet thing happened. This is clear in the original play by Shakespeare but some people seem to gloss over it sometimes and make out like Romeo and Juliet had this amazing deep and meaningful 'I-know-your-soul' kind of relationship, which may or may not have been the intended effect - but really it is more likely that they were deeply infatuated rather than deeply in love...
In this real time version, Romeo and Juliet met on the 23rd of April, and slept together and she didn't know his last name until several days later, however they were professing their love from that night/the next morning.
It kind of reminds me of Carol's comments about Atonement - the relationship between Robbie and Cecelia was pretty much based on a shag in the library once.
Either way, I think that this version of Romeo and Juliet is really interesting, and I think the fact that the audience can be involved in it is quite cool - though I'm not sure to what extent there has been banter between the audience and the characters as I don't have twitter account and don't understand it as well so I get slightly confused occasionally, lol.

So yes, I think it's definitely something to check out, for anyone who thinks it sounds interesting. I know it has been criticised a bit, and I think that there are quite a few valid points within that criticism, however I also think that it is an innovative way to explore further the world of acting, and the world of Shakespeare in the 21st century.

Other info about it can be found on this Mudlark page, where there are helpful links to various articles about it and on the BBC news link there is also a short video with actors who play Romeo and Juliet.

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