Romeo And Juliet In The Time of Reason and Political Activism

Earlier this month, I was listening to a soundtrack of “Romeo and Juliet” while going through my Facebook feed. It prompted me to think what the encounter of Romeo and Juliet would look like these days. The result is below. Taking over from Act 1, Scene 5 (masquerade), Line 103:

ORIGINAL TEXT
MODERN TEXT
ROMEO
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
ROMEO
Don’t saints and pilgrims have lips too?
JULIET
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
JULIET
Yes, pilgrim—they have lips that they’re supposed to pray with.
ROMEO
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do.
They pray; grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
ROMEO
Well then, saint, let lips do what hands do. I’m praying for you to kiss me. Please grant my prayer so my faith doesn’t turn to despair.
JULIET
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.
JULIET
Saints don’t move, even when they grant prayers.
ROMEO
Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
(Leans to kiss her, but stops)
My gentle dove, I crave a word with you.
Pray tell, what doth thou do
to entertain thyself?
ROMEO
Then don’t move while I act out my prayer.
(Leans to kiss her, but stops)
But before we go any further, let’s have a serious conversation.
What are your hobbies?
JULIET
My fair lord,
I like to dance, to sing and play my harpsichord.
JULIET
Well uhm,
I enjoy dancing, singing and playing harpsichord.
ROMEO
Thy servant like to dance, to hunt
and to supper with fair assemblies.
ROMEO
For me, it is dancing, hunting and partying with my friends.
JULIET
Ay, only one of three.
This do little good on us.
JULIET
Only one out of three,
not so good.
ROMEO
That is the truth… So please you, let me know,
what house is thy troth with?
ROMEO
Yes. But please tell me,
which party do you support?
JULIET
The house Capulet, since it has mercy and fairness
for people of Verona. I am a Capulet myself. And thee?
JULIET
The liberals of course, since I am from Clintonet family. And you?
ROMEO
Both me and every of my friend
Support the strong and stable Montague.
ROMEO
Me and my friends are all conservatives, we support the strong and stable Trumpegue.
JULIET
(aside)
Prodigious curse of love it is to me,
That I must cast an eye on a loathèd enemy.

Thy can’t deny thy father and refuse thy name;
And I can’t cease to be a Capulet.

JULIET
(aside)
Hell, how can he support these retards.
Strange, he looks so progressive.

Bad luck, I really liked you, you are so cute.
But all my self help books tell that we should not.

ROMEO
Ay, gentle lady. I think a resolution wise
would be to say farewell.
We shan’t be short of better matches.
Farewell: let’s stay good friends.
ROMEO
Yes, I liked you, too. But we know better, don’t we?
Let’s part our ways and stay good friends.
But before that,
let’s take a selfie.
JULIET
Farewell, my lord.
JULIET
Yes, a selfie would be fab.

Exeunt. Everybody survives. Curtain.

More Romeos and Juliets In Contemporary Contexts

Ethan Kuperberg, 2014: Romeo and Juliet 15 Years After

In Romeo and Juliet: The Epilogue, Ethan Kuperberg tries to imagine what the encounter of Romeo and Juliet 15 years after their failed double suicide would look like, and places the characters in the modern reality of 2014. In my opinion, the result is highly plausible. Please read the full Epilogue on New Yorker website. An excerpt, to tempt you into clicking the link, is below.

ORIGINAL TEXT
MODERN TEXT
JULIET
Hi.
JULIET
Hi.
ROMEO
Hi.
ROMEO
Hi.
JULIET
Hi.
JULIET
Hi.
ROMEO
Thy gown is nice. Of nice material, I mean.
’Tis a garment that suits thy body well.
(Aside) But what garment doth not suit its wearer?
O mine poor tongue, once sword, anon a flopping fish.
ROMEO
Your dress is nice. I mean, the fabric is nice.
This garment suits your body shape well.
(Aside) But what garment does not suit its wearer?
Oh my poor tongue, once sword, now a flopping fish.
JULIET
I thanketh thee. Your boots are pleasing in their color,
A strong brown, like bark or dirt. Ha! Dirt.
(Aside) Dirt? O, mine foul and most unnatural nerves
Have been usurpt’d by feelings most untoward.
JULIET
Cheers. I like the colour of your shoes,
A strong brown, like bark or dirt. Ha! Dirt.
(Aside) Dirt? Oh my mind
Have been overtaken by the most unexpected and inappropriate emotions.
JULIET
Ay, we wast younger then. Ideals still strong,
Our love boat caught in hormones’ tempest.
Anon I must put lust away to dock.
My thirtieth year approacheth, without mercy.
JULIET
Yes, we were younger back then. That was an ideals
And hormones fueled relationship.
I should be reasonable now.
My thirtieth birthday is looming.
ROMEO
Ay, thirty. Jesus Christ.
ROMEO
Yes, thirty. Holy mackarel.

1980’s Romeo and Juliet According To Dire Straits

30-40 years ago Romeo and Juliet’s story would have unfolded differently. Perhaps it would have been as in the music video for Dire Straits‘ composition Romeo and Juliet from their album Making Movies (1980) :

Juliet the dice were loaded from the start
And I bet and you exploded in my heart
And I forget I forget the movie song
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

Come up on different streets they booth were streets of shame
Both dirty both mean yes and the dream was just the same
And I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is real
How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?

Songwriters: Bob Hamilton / Freddie Gorman
Romeo and Juliet lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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