Sometimes, the most frustrating thing about the Internet (well, Facebook specifically) is that when you think you are being devastatingly clever in your sarcasm, not everyone gets it. Jokes fall flat if you have to explain them.
Walt and I have been through about 5 hours of intenses Shakespearean drama this weekend, as we watched first an all-female version of Romeo and Juliet and then a normal version of the same show, all put on by the 30 year old Acme Theater Company, comprised of high school age kids.
This show was set in some sort of dystopian time where the military rules and tries to keep the warring Caputlets and Montagues from disturbing it. The costumes are white for the Capulets and black for the Montagues, who mostly wear leather, chains, and, in the case of the regular cast, tall mohawk hairdos.
Given the setting and the costuming, it was actually easier to find West Side Story in the action and so I wrote on Facebook: "Saw a production of Romeo and Juliet tonight. It reminded me of West Side Story." I then added a little winking smiley to the end of that.
Well, I got lots of comments:
Michael - Never heard of it.
Tracey - What's this you speak of? Are you in a foreign country again?Lynn - LOL
Sue - Um, duh?
Crilly - Obvious rip-off.
Michael - Yeah. Must be a cheap ripoff. You know what they say. By any other name, it still smells the same.
Mary - Imagine!
Neil - "No, sir, but I DO bite my thumb, sir"
Buncha wiseasses, all of 'em. I love it that there are learned people who appreciate my wit. But then came this comment:
Of course WEST SIDE STORY is based on ROMEO & JULIET , what else could it be based on?
The writer then added:
And I'm sure when Shakespheare wrote it down, it wasn't a new tale then....
and then explained that she used to work backstage in a professional theater.
What Facebook needs is a "sarcasm" sign to keep people from thinking you're seriously stupid, though as one of the commentors said "you'd think the winkey would be a clue."
But sarcasm aside, this was a great production. If I had to choose the better of the two productions, I couldn't do it. The girls playing the men's parts were totally believable, for the most part, as their male characters.
Interestingly, though, the director mentioned that she had intended the same direction for both casts, but as they got into rehearsal discovered that the nature of the actors kind of dictated the nature of the direction. While both productions were excellent, there was definitely more testosterone in the mixed gender production, especially notable in the fight scenes. While the girl-men held nothing back, they didn't quite have the same intensity that you would see in a group of guys fighting each other.
The thing I loved about the show was seeing age-appropriate actors playing Romeo and Juliet. It's no secret that Shakespeare is not my thing, but I learn something whenever I prepare for going to see one of his plays. I guess it never hit me that Juliet is thirteen, or that Romeo has been swooning over the lovely Rosalinde, but totally loses his attraction to her the first time he sets eyes on Juliet...and they are married the next day by the town priest. Things move quickly in Verona.
Anyway, having teenagers do these roles makes them more believable. The Juliet in the all female cast was so ephemeral, so flighty, so much a teenager in love while Romeo is just as much so only in a masculine way. The other Juliet was more the pouty, defiant-teenager Juliet, while Romeo was more of a macho figure. Their balcony scene didn't move me as much as the first one did, but their death scene was so powerful you could have heard a pin drop in the theater.