Rumor has it that the ABC network has committed to producing a new period drama series, a retelling of Romeo & Juliet set in Renaissance Verona. Catherine Hardwicke, who directed the movie adaptation of another popular story about star-crossed lovers belonging to clans that are at odds with each other, Twilight, is in talks to direct the potential Romeo & Juliet.
As an educator, I’m not sure how to feel about this one. On the one hand, this seems an amazing opportunity to introduce Shakespeare to a new generation of thirteen year-olds hungry for another teenage love story to get hooked into. Sure the story is centuries old and most everyone knows how it ends, but I can imagine my thirteen year old self posting vigil by the television set weekly to watch [name your own hearthrob’s] doomed romance. On the other hand, can you adapt R&J into a television series and still call it Shakespeare? It is dubious that the screenwriters for this version will stick to verse or any likeness of the original text. Still, could the t.v. show be used to pique student interest in learning more about Shakespeare in Will’s words?
Adaptations of Shakespeare in High School have been popular for quite awhile but is there any track record for these adaptations actually bringing students closer to Shakespeare?