Shakespeare wrote text. He didn’t write the costumes, he didn’t provide a description of the set, and all the written lines lack qualifying adjectives and adverbs. In other words, Shakespeare’s plays have a ridiculous amount of room for artistic interpretation. Each play has themes that drive the work forward, but how those themes are presented is entirely up to the director’s/actor’s interpretation. For the most part, he’s given us an outline of a story and we have the opportunity to fill in the blanks.We saw this demonstrated in the staging of The Winter’s Tale, which took a much different approach than I expected. The fleshing out of minor characters, the interaction between main characters, costume, stage design, lighting, and blocking all affected the interpretation of the major themes within The Winter’s Tale, and that was just one play. My experiment with Romeo and Juliet is to view a variety of interpretations, analyze how those films affect the themes found within the play, and compare them to one another and my own interpretation.
In other words, here are the standards/questions I’ll be critiquing the films by:
What major themes are strongly represented?
How true to the text does the film remain?
How true to the plot does the film remain?
What is lost/gained by diverging away from the plot?
What minor characters receive more screen time and how does that affect the play?
How does the costume/setting/language/cultural representation affect the themes in the play?
How do the actors portray certain characters? Again, how does this affect the themes represented?
Would Shakespeare be rolling over in his grave if he knew about this interpretation?
What kind of interaction is there between main characters?
Again, everything needs to go back to the themes of Romeo and Juliet. How does it affect the themes? How does this change in theme represent society’s current view? Are certain themes left out entirely because of the changes within the play? Unfortunately, I’ve already watched two films, so now I need to go back and re-watch them with these thoughts in mind so that I can really dig down into the film. Wish me luck