U-M Dept. of Theatre & Drama's "Romeo and Juliet" reflects the play's pandemic-informed origins
Post-modern takes on Shakespeare and especially his Romeo and Juliet feel as common as classic versions. But accompanying the techno music and blue jeans in the University of Michigan's Department of Theatre and Drama's post-modern version are pandemic masks.
Directed by Shakespeare in Detroit's Sam White, this edition of Romeo and Juliet also reflects our current era by playing up the extreme divisiveness between the two main clans, but a pandemic also informed the play when it was written around 1594.
A plague hit London in 1593 and more than 10,000 city residents died. Shakespeare's play features a scene where Friar John tries to tell Romeo about Juliet's faked death, but because the monk was suspected to be from a place infected by the plague, he's forced to quarantine and is unable to deliver his message.
You know what happens next.
The U-M Department of Theatre and Drama put the whole performance on YouTube for free, which you can see below as well as find out about four more free online shows in the school's spring schedule:
Download the Romeo and Juliet show program here.
The other spring shows are As You Like It, Don Pasquale, Godspell, and Playfest, which is an evening of original works by playwriting students. all directed by fellow students, by visiting smtd.umich.edu.
Christopher Porter is a library technician and the editor of Pulp.