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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: Romeo+Juliet=0
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0990  Tuesday, 9 April 2002

[1]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Apr 2002 18:34:52 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0

[2]     From:   Alan J. Sanders <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Apr 2002 14:00:27 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0

[3]     From:   Brian Willis <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Apr 2002 12:05:03 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0

[4]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Apr 2002 13:12:33 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0980 Be$t Romeo & Juliet, Yet!

[5]     From:   Takashi Kozuka <
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        Date:   Monday, 8 Apr 2002 21:57:03 +0100 (BST)
        Subj:   Re: Romeo+Juliet=0


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Apr 2002 18:34:52 +0100
Subject: 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0

Calm down Charles, I am with you if no-one else is.  And I agree.  R+J
was an assault on Shakespeare's poetry.  A third rate director looking
for a first rate career move.  It worked.  And it worked because if
Shakespeare's words are spoken in any fashion they are never criticised
except by the culturally eccentric.   I was appalled by this piece of
cinematic manipulation.  And could anyone be less like Romeo than little
Leo?  I think professors and other academics like to pontificate on such
media events because it gives them an aura of street cred. "Hey, I'm not
a stuffy old Prof. I'm cool."  Shakespeare's poetry can change your life
and add joy; R+J changed my pocket and took away my money.

And before anyone the list take the opportunity to stab Sam in the heart
with his own bodkin, let me say that my own films let the plain verse
tell the story.  The images and music are merely settings.  Wouldn't it
be nice to hear Charles speak some sonnets?

SAM SMALL
http://www.passioninpieces.co.uk

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alan J. Sanders <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Apr 2002 14:00:27 -0400
Subject: 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0

I have one question here as it relates to this entire line of Movie vs.
Stage heavyweight title bout that has been going on for the last few
weeks:

Specifically based on the comments below, does this mean Shakespeare
only works if done with a British accent and on an exact replica of the
Globe?  Maybe that's going a bit far, as I am used to being more
sarcastic than I mean to be here, but all the same, are we talking truly
British voices and only a main stage?  It cannot be done in any other
language or in any other medium?  Although I can see a purist view from
this perspective, I also find it a bit limiting.  Taking the purist view
to an extreme, once the plays of William had been performed, was there
ever a need to see them again?!?  After all, who better to stage a
William Shakespeare production than the playwright himself -- along with
his close coterie of friends, associates, businessmen, actors, the
Master of Revels, the church, the Queen, and the critic, none of which
had any influence in the final product?  It was a pure vision of
translating the word to the stage and the moment has past.  The bit of
magic is gone.  All we have now is a series of mindless carbon copies,
or worse, a handful of people who have been convinced they have a
creative 'take' on the staging/acting/filming of a particular play.

We need to just accept the fact, that no one will ever be able to do it
justice, so why bother doing it at all?  It only causes strife,
disagreement, berating, and disharmony.  We all need to grab our
official copy of the collected works of William Shakespeare (there is
one perfect copy, right?) and sit by the fire while watching the clouds
roll in as a slight tear forms in the corner of our eye, hoping beyond
hope that maybe, just maybe, someone will get up the nerve to get a
sample of his DNA and begin the cloning process so we might be able to
see, in our short lifetimes, just how it's supposed to be done.

So much for Will.  Voltaire anyone?

Alan J. Sanders

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Willis <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Apr 2002 12:05:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0980 Romeo+Juliet=0

Claire and Leo are totally lost, but there is no need to get offensive
about it.

> since
> "everyone" includes the subliterate,

Does Charles really want us to believe that Shakespeare's audience were
all members of the cultural elite? How many were literate? Probably not
those standing in the yard. To suggest that one must be literate in
general is ignorant. Let's face it, a vast majority of the general
populace are turned off by Shakespeare. Luhrmann's film has many flaws,
acting being perhaps the biggest. Yet the value in the film lies in the
fact that he understands that the public is turned off by the verse and
yet he dares to tackle the exotic issue by placing it in a familiar
context.  If one dislikes the acting or the style of the director, that
is one thing. But to say that the film has no merit is erroneous.
Shakespeare wrote for popular entertainment, not for literary studies.
Let's remember that when we read the plays or watch an a production.
Luhrmann is smart enough to present it as a popular entertainment and in
a hyper-visual context that represents our MTV age. The result was an
echo of Zefferelli's production in the late 1960s. It just goes to show
that the plays of Shakespeare can be placed in contemporary or
Elizabethan contexts and succeed at the box office. If the people are
happy, how dare we say that the people are wrong? According to Charles,
scholars AND the people are wrong.  EVERYONE'S wrong except for him.
Charles preaches from a molehill of his own construction, which is on
very shaky ground indeed. Shakespeare wrote for the people, and let the
people enjoy his work.

Brian Willis

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Apr 2002 13:12:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.0980 Be$t Romeo & Juliet, Yet!
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0980 Be$t Romeo & Juliet, Yet!

Charles Weinstein writes, "Claire and Leo don't know how to speak
Shakespeare; consequently they don't know how to act him.  Like tourists
in a foreign country, they cheerfully mangle every syllable.  Eloquence
and beauty fly out the window whenever they open their sorry mouths:  so
does simple credibility...Whatever their success in contemporary roles,
in Shakespeare Claire and Leo are ignorant, incompetent and
ineffective."

This is _very_ interesting.  The other night my wife and I were watching
TV and the scene was a man and woman, and they were close, face to face,
and the dialogue was _sotto voce_, and the background music came up and
drowned out the voices, and the dialogue went on, unheard.  Of course,
as we say in the movies, fade out!

My wife and I asked each other: what did _he_ say?  And what did _she_
say?

Film is an artform based on _mood_: and music and cinematics rule, while
dialogue can become secondary.  No doubt, the _looks_ of Claire and Leo
rule the screen.  I love Shakespeare for the language, and when R & J
was transformed into film with Claire and Leo, the language became
secondary.  And that is precisely why the film was so _good_ and so
_successful_, because it worked the _mood_ and milked its audiences for
all they were worth: $$$.

Will $ was in it, I understand, for the $ame rea$on$.

$o $orry, Charle$!

Bill Arnold

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Takashi Kozuka <
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Date:           Monday, 8 Apr 2002 21:57:03 +0100 (BST)
Subject:        Re: Romeo+Juliet=0

Inspector Holland's theory now makes more sense to me.  The title
'Romeo+Juliet=0' is very Terry! Just like _That Shakespeherian Rag_ and
'Telmah' :-)

Best wishes,
Takashi Kozuka

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