Tragedy laced with love and romance, our adaptation of Romeo and Juliet conveys the metaphorical aspects of Shakespeare's words in a modern setting. Trapped, no longer by family feuds but by physical bars and daunting life sentences. Past mistakes rotting at their future possibilities, however a love tainted by all forms of criminal insanity, fears no boundaries.
Communication through the parties arose in one of the most obscure ways; however, it does reflect the reality of inmates discovered through the recently released Netflix series Jailbirds. With hopes to not only expose the inmate’s daily life and interactions but also educate those who shall never experience a lack of freedom in this regards, Jailbirds demonstrates toilet talk as a way to interact with the opposite sex. Toilet talk involves the bailing of all the water out of the toilet and then using the piping system to interact, this involves a large amount of hope that someone will be listening on the other side. Further emphasizing on the desperation of these lovers.
In our adaptation, Romeo and Juliet take simple converses a step further by planning their escape together leaving the life of crime behind them, demonstrating how Shakespeare conveyed an urgency and rushed approach to their relationship that came with the love at first sight.
However, in our adaptation, it is not love at first sight but rather love at first conversation. The two protagonists can only converse and do not see one another until the fatal scene. It is quite unusual that a bond as intense as Romeo and Juliet's is formed without physical attraction however our adaptation takes a twist on the traditional saying "love is blind". Conceptualizing humanities over bounding desire for love with a focus on the loneliness that Juliette had experienced prior to meeting Romeo.
Having been locked into prison for three years prior to the time our play is set in, charged with attempted murder of her abusive soon to be husband Paris, Juliette undergoes emotional development as a character. At the beginning, facing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, tainted with long time regret for her violent actions towards her husband. However as her conversations with Romeo progressed, an alteration of emotive responses towards other inmates occurs along with the overall brightening of the characters personality.
Responses to the newfound love are also present in Romeos attitude, although miniscule in comparison to the development Juliet undergoes. With finding news of his execution due to murder by the form of hiring, he still controlled his persona. Making it obvious of his previous heartbreak from his beloved Rosaline drained any form of light that could be displayed. However, with his introduction to Juliet, a newfound lust for life arises in Romeos character. With this change in beliefs Romeo, rightfully so, began to stress over his looming death. His conversations with Juliet confusing these emotions further.
The adaptation is a journey of anticipation in which we hope all audience members follow to their fullest potential. Immerse yourselves in the complicated, twisted almost wicked story that is Romeo and Juliette.
BL – Director.