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Comparing Different Productions Of Romeo And Juliet

3150 words - 13 pages

Comparing Different Productions of Romeo and Juliet

William Shakespeare, a well-known dramatist wrote and directed many
famous plays such as ‘Macbeth’ and ‘ AMid Summer’s Night Dream’ that
made a great impact on his audience and resulted in Shakespeare
becoming one of the world’s best-known dramatist. However, a tragic
love story of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet is probably his
best-known theatrical production in which two teenagers fall in love,
with a complication of hatred between their two families. During
Shakespeare’s time, only a limited amount of people had access to the
theatre that could watch on a fantastic production until a director,
Franco Zeffirelli changed that. However, thirty years later another
director by the name of Baz Luhrmann created another replica of
‘Romeo and Juliet,’ which would match the audience of today’s society.
Both of these directors present their production in different ways due
to the fact that they were affected by their culture.

Franco Zeffirelli is an Italian director and his adaptation of ‘Romeo
and Juliet’ added a powerful realism because the play is set ‘in fair
Verona,’ that is actually set in Italy. In comparison, Zeffirelli
obeys Shakespeare’s rules on scenery by setting the film in Verona. By
contrast, the Australian director, Baz Luhrmann set his version in a
mythical and artistically created California town called Verona Beach.
Luhrmann took a modern approach to William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and
Juliet’ due to the fact that his film work was about youth and how its
optimism, energy and inexperience were so ultimately human and real.
Similarly, Zeffirelli was also keen in casting youth and therefore
starred teenagers in the main roles: Leonard Whiting, 17, as Romeo and
Olivia Hussey, 15, as Juliet. Thereby, he portrayed a youthful passion
and appealing innocence that enhances the film’s realism. In the
original text, there were original verbal symbols used and therefore
Zeffirelli included many of these symbolisms, for example, the stars:
‘The star cross’d lovers’ and the power of romance. Nevertheless,
Zeffirelli does bring his own motif with the use of recurring tune
that is played throughout the intense romance between Romeo and
Juliet. In Luhrmann’s version, the sun replaces the stars, and the
water replaces the motif of power, for example, when Romeo and Juliet
make love in the swimming pool during the balcony scene.

The two versions aim at different audiences. The Zeffirelli version
attracted a traditional audience who were mainly Shakespeare
enthusiasts that were pleased with the realism of the play. On the
other hand Luhrmann attempted to attract a much more wider and larger
range of people to watch his modernized interpretation of the original
‘Romeo and Juliet’ that even could attract those who were not

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