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"How effectively has the exposition of Romeo and Juliet been transformed for a modern day audience in the Richard Eyre Audio Production?"

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David Murray 10GR 20/09/2003 "How effectively has the exposition of Romeo and Juliet been transformed for a modern day audience in the Richard Eyre Audio Production?" The Tragi - Romance, Romeo and Juliet, is undoubtedly one of Shakespeare's most famous works. The city of Verona in Italy makes the ideal setting, being visually rich, for such a exotic and extravagant play. Like all Shakespeare plays, Romeo and Juliet is set out in five scenes. The first of which, what I am taking to be the exposition, is quite an important scene, as it introduces the characters to the audience, whom the audience can empathise and sympathise with. Also in this first scene, we discover the situation and circumstances of the main characters, and normally by the end of the exposition some sort of conflict / issue/ or problem arises which becomes the main story line of the play. Shakespeare has also added a little bit of comedy, which interlaced into the exposition, grabs the audience's attention and gets them on the side of the characters. Richard Eyre has very similar facilities and limitations, in this audio medium used here, to what Shakespeare would have had available to him. ...read more.


However, there is quite a distinct different between the accents of, for example, Samson and Gregory (servants), and Juliet's nurse. The accents of Samson and Gregory are very much a modern-day common London accent, that found on hit BBC TV soap Eastenders. This shows them to be somewhat 'yobs,' Juliet's (ex) wet nurse on the other hand, has been given an accent typical of the Elizabethan accent of Shakespeare's day, still heard in counties such as Devon, Cornwall and Norfolk today. This makes her sound common but more warm and heartly. Back to the start of the first act, Samson and Gregory are talking, in which they use a lot of sexual puns and word play. Eyre has edited the clever puns and word plays out and cut straight to the rude and sexual jokes. This has been done to good effect, as it makes it more relevant to today's audience. Also, because the word plays that may have been 'side-splittingly' hilarious in Shakespeare's day, would barely lift more than a smile on the faces of an audience today, as they lack the contemporary relevance that the listener would find humorous. ...read more.


and this rather odd tale he talks of here is hardly believable, so this act by the producer makes it seem more plausible. In 1(5) 106, the word 'thine' in the text has been changed to 'yours'. This is a good choice as it makes the words easier to listen to and more flowing. When placed in a modern day context 'thine' sounds too artificial and mannered for a conversation at a party between the two main characters in this play; Romeo and Juliet. Artificial is exactly what we don't want Romeo and Juliet to sound, as it prevents the audience from empathising with them. Overall, I would say that Richard Eyre does a good job of adapting the play for radio. I feel that he did not want to make it a Shakespearean piece, nor a completely modern version, and would have thought that this would compromise the overall effect of the play. I think a reason he manages to do this is that the cause of the story; love, is something common in all times and places in the world. He manages to bring the problems of today, with those in Shakespearean times such as forced marriage, together in such a way, without leaving a disjointed feel. ...read more.

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