Romeo and Juliet For Younger Audiences
It has been established time and time before that Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known works. In the playwright’s time it was one of the most performed on stage; today modernization has made it possible for this tragedy to be revived and adapted into many different types of media.
This transmedial quality of Romeo and Juliet serves a noble purpose for young audiences, centuries removed from the first theater goers of Shakespeare’s time. Each adaptation, in forms of media we can understand and relate to, breathes new life into the story of the two star-crossed lovers, helping remove the stigma of Shakespeare being “boring”.
So how exactly does one introduce the story of Romeo and Juliet to youngsters and young adults?
For children, animated cartoons is the best bet. Being very visual at this stage of life, they can be spared from the heavy Victorian-era text to make way for images and minimal dialogue. The fact that the story takes place in the span of only five days is also omitted, because kids are not yet able to grasp the concept of first love and the lengths people will do for it.
For teenagers, the rush of hormones makes the “doomed lovers” situation the most appealing element in the plot. The fight scenes and death scenes are more understandable to portray when catering to this audience. A much more pragmatic adaptation of the tale is apt. Which makes it no surprise that references to Romeo and Juliet have been made from romantic comedies to pop song lyrics to music videos.
After having reviewed these adaptations, I can conclude that they have been largely successful in maintaining curiosity and appreciation of this play among children and teenagers, keeping Romeo and Juliet as alive as it was in the Renaissance.
Cristelle Elaine V. Collera
II AB Interdisciplinary Studies
Ateneo de Manila University