Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Italian Experience - The Most Famous Love Story

Tiger has already read the story from Tales of Shakespeare and other abridged versions.  He also remembers the masks that he decorated, which he thinks will come in handy in the masquerade party in the play.  He also watched the BBC animated version of Romeo and Juliet.

After our previous successful trip to The Globe, Tiger asked to go there again.  On his own accord, he started to read the original play at home and took it along on the day of the performance to "match what the actors are saying with the script" (his words).  The version that he read is one that is used in schools -- with the dialogues on one side and the corresponding analysis on the other.  I wasn't expecting him to read the actual play until later, but if he wanted to do that and has enjoyed doing so (as he told me afterwards), then I won't hold him back unnecessarily.

The production at The Globe that we watched was one that was specifically put up for the benefit of students who are taking literature GCSE exams this year, as Romeo and Juliet is one of the selected texts for the exam. 

The performance, although the actors still spoke in the original Shakespearean language, was modernised in its props and costumes, which reminded me more of West Side Story than the usual Elizabethan stage than we were expecting to see at The Globe.  It is very unusual for The Globe to perform in a modern version so I wonder whether it was a deliberate action to get the secondary school children interested.

I was very impressed by the performance nonetheless, as I felt that I now understand the play and the emotions within the characters more after watching the performance.  However, Tiger didn't like the modernised parts of the performance.  He wanted to see the traditional Elizabethan version that The Globe did a few years ago:

Tiger was also not impressed with the audience that day.  Compared to the very civilised, interested, paying public whom we sat amongst to watch The Taming of the Shrew, this time we were amongst secondary school groupsWatching from the side where we were sitting, it was clear that some of the school children / teenagers really didn't want to be there.  Tiger was slightly baffled at one point by the disinterest he saw in the majority of the school-attending audience.

The quality of the audience and the modernisation of the play, both of which Tiger didn't take to, helped me make up my mind about not attending school matinees at The Globe anymore.  I would rather pay the full price to have the same experience as we did with The Taming of the Shrew.

This post is linked up to:
1) Look What We Did!
2) Hobbies and Handicrafts - May 17
3) Collage Friday - Math, Appliances, and Other Goodies
4) Weekly Wrap-Up: The One Where I Didn't Go to Nashville
5) Hip Homeschool Hop - 5/21/13


  1. I agree with you and Tiger and prefer to be around audience members who are interested in the show. I also prefer traditional shows and dislike modern jokes inserted into performances.

    It's wonderful he has a growing appreciation for classic literature at such a young age.

  2. We're introducing the kids to their first Shakespeare play tomorrow, Two Gentleman of Verona, I'm excited to see how they do with it. I might need to swing by the library and pick up a copy of Shakespeare Tales or something......

    Is it totally horrible if I confess R&J is not one of my favorite plays?

  3. Julie - I agree that it wasn't helpful to be around an audience that would rather be somewhere else, but I also felt sorry that these children are missing out on a huge part of the English culture. I think Tiger's appreciation for classic literature comes from being nurtured by the Charlotte Mason philosophy of using living/great books from a very young age.

  4. Ticia - It's exciting to know that you're taking your children to see their first Shakespeare play tomorrow. I hope they will fall in love with it. :-) It may help if they know a little about the plot, but that is not absolutely necessary, since Shakespeare's language is powerful in itself to captivate an appreciative audience. :-)

    And no, you don't have to like Romeo & Juliet. :-) Different plays appeal to different people. I wasn't enamoured with R&J before either, but after watching this particular interpretation, I felt that I understood better the youthful passion and recklessness of the young lovers. It could also be that because now I'm older now and have had the relevant life experiences to relate to the human emotions and dilemmas better.

  5. So can't wait to study Shakespeare. I just hope we get to go to the Globe at least once!

  6. I'm sure you will, Claire. It's an interesting place to visit. :-)

  7. Wonderful that Tiger is choosing to read Shakespeare. How different from the experience of so many schoolchildren! Some friends of ours saw The Taming of the Shrew at the Globe last year - they also said it was excellent. I shall take note of your tips about visiting when there's a general rather than schools audience - thanks for that!

  8. You're welcome, Lucinda. The prices are much lower for the school matinee, which was the reason we went at that time, but the difference in production and level of audience interest was too much for our liking. :-) Hope you'll enjoy your visit there at some point. :-)


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