Sunday, March 01, 2009

Romeo and Julian

I had missed this story – spotted on Digg, of all places – about a school in trouble for doing a gay version of Romeo and Juliet called, as noted Romeo and Julian.

What’s the big deal?  Directors make changes like that all the time, mucking about with gender, race and age at will to make a particular point.  I remember hearing about a version of Othello where everyone was black, except the title character. 

The most interesting bit of the article to me was this odd quote:

But Commons leader Harriet Harman rebuked him, saying: "I seem to remember that in Shakespearean times, boys would play girls and girls would play boys and the whole point was trying work out which was which.

Ummm….I’m not so sure about the “girls playing boys” thing, nor that that was, in fact, “the whole point.”  Maybe somebody over on the other side of the pond can fill me in if I’m missing something.


Anonymous said...

I'm thinking this "girls playing boys" thing is simply a misremembering of the plot of Twelfth Night, being that much of the pleasure for the audience lies in the fact that Orsino and Olivia don't know Viola/Cesario's true sex. But the guy could just be totally misinformed, as well.

Bill said...

I had a similar thought, but about As You Like It, which has a boy playing a girl playing a boy playing a girl. I could see how someone could misremember that as "boys would play girls and girls would play boys" if they had only studied Shakespeare in grammar school.