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How effectively has the exposition of 'Romeo and Juliet' been transformed for a modern audience?

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Introduction

How effectively has the exposition of 'Romeo and Juliet' been transformed for a modern audience? Richard Eyre has aimed to engage with a modern audience in this production. The subject matter (love) suits all audiences. It is something we can all relate to - any age, any culture, any period. However, Richard Eyre has tried to make this play appeal more to a modern audience in this audio-tape prduction. There are several ways in which he has tried to do this. It was probably meant to be played in schools, with most rude lines missed out. The fact that there is no visual image means that pupils can concentrate more on the words of the play, and understand their meaning, rather than just watching the actions of the play. The first thing we hear on the tape, before the prologue, is people coughing. This implies that somebody is in trouble, and creates a sense of violence and also a bit of mysters - why are people coughing?

Middle

When Romeo and Benvolio are talking at the end of this scene, where Romeo is trying to express his 'love' for Rosaline, no background music is used and there are no changes to the original text. This will have been because the language is easy enough to understand, and it is easy to tell what s going on without additional effects. We can tell, just from the words, that Romeo is being over-the-top and is describing artificial love, he loves the idea of being in love. At the beginning of the next scene, we are obviously outside, and we hear a woman being thrown into a fountain or swimming pool. This does not seem to be of any relevance, but it is probably suggesting misbehaviour, as later on in the scene, Benvolio is given an interesting idea. Women were seen as posessions in Elizabethan times, and in line 32, the word 'mine' is changed to 'she' on the tape production, to eliminate posession. This is another example of how the play is being brought up to the 21st century.

Conclusion

On the other hand, there are also many negative qualities also. Losing visula impact means that we cannot see the expressions on the characters faces, and we have to rely on their voices to understand their emotions, which is sometimes more difficult than it sounds. You need a strong imagination to compensate for the fact that you cannot see anything. How will backgrounds be established just from a few sound effects? Actions are also very difficult to put over without being able to see what is happening. For example, in a fight, how would you be able to tell who is winning, and who gets killed? Also, it is very difficult to understand the play first tme through of listening to the tape. Everything moves very fast, and especially with so many missed out parts. If you miss something that has been said on the tape, it is harder to pick up what is going on rather than if you were watching the play. Other arguements can be made against the idea of the mixture of modern regional accent speaking in Elizabethan language. This is completely inappropriate and unrealistic to Shakespeare's dialogue.

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