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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: July ::
Re: "Lesbian" Romeo and Juliet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1881  Friday, 27 July 2001

From:           Mari Bonomi <
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Date:           Thursday, 26 Jul 2001 12:14:17 -0400
Subject: 12.1876 "Lesbian" Romeo and Juliet in Birmingham
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1876 "Lesbian" Romeo and Juliet in Birmingham

How sad that rightwing and conservative organizations (I am presuming
about this Mediawatch UK group I know) can still say that a "lesbian
adaptation" is titillation and sensationalism and cashing in on
controversy but would never dare to say such a thing about a
multi-racial production.

If exploring the meaning of Shakespeare's (or any author's) texts is the
purpose, then casting such as described by the DT in this case is as
legitimate (or, I admit as illegitimate but not MORE so) as casting
Patrick Stewart as Othello.  On a contemporary cultural level, the
transvestite is a long-established British tradition from what I've
observed on this side of the Atlantic (see Monty Python just for
starters) and the Nurse is in most ways written as a comic part.

Given

1.  the homoerotic elements of Shakespeare's original productions being
all male

2.  the homosocial and homoerotic elements present throughout
Shakespeare's ouvre

3.  the concept that keeps appearing in this list of "universality" that
we continue to explore  (i.e. what is universality and how is
Shakespeare experienced within vastly different cultures)

I see nothing more shocking about this production than about dozens,
nay, hundreds-- thousands of others.

I frankly find it, as described, far less offensive than Baz Luhrmann's
Romeo and Juliet (though had he not called his movie "William
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet" I'd have been less offended by him).

Mari Bonomi

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