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Compare the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet in two contrasting forms.

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Introduction

Edward Darbyshire 11G English Media assignment. In this assignment I am going to compare the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet in two contrasting forms. The First is the Baz Lurmann film which was completed in 1997 and was very controversial because it was a very modern interpretation of a well known and much loved classic play. I will then compare it with the standard text of the play, attempting to analyse how they differ and which I find to be the best. The Baz Lurmann production of Romeo and Juliet brings the play very much into the 20th century. Being set in Verona Beach, a suburb of Modern day Los Angeles. The production is characterised by speed, movement and music on a vast scale. The production is clearly at the present time as we are introduced to the prologue by an American newsreader, the television screen occupying the centre of an otherwise empty screen. After this the camera action begins to erupt into a sequence of breathtaking scenes. ...read more.

Middle

Here we see more details that link the original text and Lurmanns Production. When Benvollio draws his gun we see that it is called a 'sword 9mm' this simple idea makes sense of the instruction 'put up thy sword' When the Capulet's and Montague's meet at the petrol station the pictures become more manic, zany and insane. The characters behave in an uncontrolled violent and aggressive way. Literally screaming their lines at each other. An other reference to the original play form is a nun coming out of the garage shop and being treated to obscene gestures by the Montague's. The image is nightmare and Tybalt appears as a satanic character. When the fighting begins it is stylised choreographed violence and the music is similar to that of a Clint Eastwood Western. The climax of this modern interpretation is when Tybalt drops his lighted cigar into the spilt petrol and the whole scene erupts into flame. The camera pans out to a helicopter hovering above giving the audience a global view of the pandemonium and destruction. ...read more.

Conclusion

After a few exchanges they follow the stage direction 'they fight' The film version of the play brings the audience up to frenzy by the nature of the images shown and the frantic pace the story opens. In the film there is a sense of everything being out of control and chaos, whereas the play script does little to build up a sense of fear and impending doom. It is always the responsibility of the producer to turn the words on the page into action but it is difficult to see how Shakespeare's words could give the audience signals about what is to come. Out of the two versions I find the modern film to be the most effective because it creates a real sense of foreboding and uncertainty. The world of Verona beach seems strange and exciting and I tend to associate modern American cities with the gang warfare that would create the circumstances in which Romeo and Juliet suffer their terrible fate. It is strange to think that Verona Beach LA has more in common with Verona at the time of Romeo and Juliet than modern England or Shakespeare's England. English coursework 07/05/2007 08:03 Pork Chop Willie 2002 ...read more.

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