Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Eldest Gel called ol’ Robbo this afternoon to crow a bit about the draft staging of “Romeo and Juliet” she’s been working on for her Lit class.

The assignment was to come up with a creative way to re-stage the play in a form that modern audiences (and here, read “ignorant cretans”) could better appreciate.

The Gel really rather despises “R&J”, considering it to be an over-hyped story about a couple of idiot teenagers whose hormones cause them to get tangled in a ridiculous Rube Goldberg-esque  elopement plan concocted by a crackpot friar which only succeeds in getting a lot of people killed.  (She may or may not have formed this opinion from listening to ol’ Robbo, but I deny any and all responsibility.)  Apparently, she’s been sparring with the prof over this for the past week or two because he thinks the play is dreamy.  (He also, apparently, thinks “Shakespeare In Love” is a wonderful film, if that gives you any indication.)

Anyhoo, to express her opinion, the Gel decided to rework the dialogue and add stage directions to put the whole thing in an Evil Clown context.

For example, the encounter between the rival gangs of bully-boys in Act 1, Scene I, in her version, now reads:

GREGORY
‘Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou
hadst been poor John. Draw thy tool! here comes
two of the house of the Montagues.
SAMPSON
My naked weapon is out: quarrel, I will back thee.
GREGORY
How! turn thy back and run?
SAMPSON
Fear me not.
GREGORY
No, marry; I fear thee!
SAMPSON
Let us take the law of our sides; let them begin.
GREGORY
I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as
they list.
SAMPSON
Nay, as they dare. I will honk my nose at them;
which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.

Enter ABRAHAM and BALTHASAR

ABRAHAM
Do you honk your nose at us, sir?
SAMPSON
I do honk my nose, sir.
ABRAHAM
Do you honk your nose at us, sir?
SAMPSON
[Aside to GREGORY] Is the law of our side, if I say
“Whacka-whacka”?
GREGORY
No.
SAMPSON
No, sir, I do not honk my nose at you, sir, but I
honk my nose, sir. [Honks]
GREGORY
Do you quarrel, sir?
ABRAHAM
Quarrel sir! no, sir. [Honks]
SAMPSON
If you do, sir, I am for you: I serve as good a man as you.
ABRAHAM
No better.
SAMPSON
Well, sir.
GREGORY
Say ‘better:’ here comes one of my master’s kinsmen.
SAMPSON
Yes, better, sir. [Honks]
ABRAHAM
You lie! [Blows party favor]
SAMPSON
Draw, if you be men. Gregory, remember thy swashing blow.

They fight with balloon swords, beating each other about the head, and with seltzer bottles.

And in the scene in Act 3 where Romeo pinks Tybalt, the Gel envisions, Tybalt wearing one of those flower-squirt contraptions.  As he falls, blood comes streaming out of it.  She also speaks of cream pies, clown-car entrances and Romeo expiring to the sound of a slide-whistle.

I have to confess that when she told me, I laughed out loud.

Part of the assignment was to submit a paragraph or so explaining why the treatment is relevant.  My young smart-ass got round that by citing the recent outbreak of evil clown sightings which seems to be sweeping the country.

Anyhoo, she got her rough draft back from the prof today.  He actually thought it very clever and funny and was good enough, after all the grief she’s given him, to say so in his written comments/suggestions.

Heh.  Apples and trees, I suppose.  Back in high school, ol’ Robbo wrote a short parody of “Macbeth” called “The Drunk of Dunsinane”.  It was a reworking of the porter’s monologue from Act 2.  While the porter is gassing on, Macbeth, himself several fathoms under, is trying to sneak back into the castle after an evening out with the boys.  He finally tears himself away from the porter, only to find Lady M standing on the stairs with a frying pan and a cold glare.   My English teacher thought it pretty damn funny.  (Wish I’d saved a copy.)

 

 

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