At the end of the school
year my 14-year-old daughter’s English class tackled Shakespeare’s Romeo
and Juliet. She was required to give an oral report. Having listened to her
talk on the phone, I can imagine how it went...
This is like a real super-sad
play about this dude Romeo and this dudette Juliet. They had names like that
‘cause it was like the real old days, before MTV. So, no one had cool names
like Heather or Brandon or Shawna. They all had really geeky names like
Benvolio and Tybalt and Mercutio.
these two families, see, the Montagues and Capulets, really hate each other. I
mean, they can’t even walk down the street without thrashing on each other,
‘cause, like, that’s what happens right at the beginning.
Sampson, who works for old man Capulet, he sees this other dude, Abraham, who
hangs with Montague, and he bites his thumb. I mean, like, Sampson bites his
own thumb, not Abraham’s thumb, which in the old days was like saying
“Your mama!” And Abraham says, “Are you dissing me?” So they start
beating down. But it gets broken up before anybody’s really messed, you know.
And the Prince — he’s like the principal of this whole town — he
says, “Yo, next time you people get in each other’s face, I’m gonna
twist someone’s head round so their cap’s on straight.”
Juliet’s old man decides he’s going to have this party. But he has to send
this servant out to tell everybody, ‘cause, like, they didn’t even have
phones then. But this servant is, like, dyslexic or something, and he can’t
make out the names on the list, so he, like, stops someone to help him read it.
Duh! It’s Romeo.
looks at the list, and there’s all these names of dweebs, freaks, jocks,
stoners, nerds, goobs and motorheads. But then he sees Rosaline’s name. She’s this chick he thinks is really fly, so he decides to crash the party,
which is like, easy, see, ‘cause it’s a masquerade party.
Juliet’s mom, she’s trying to fix Juliet up with this guy named Paris. Is
that a dorky name or what? I mean, I thought Dweezil and Moon Unit were weird.
to the party even though he’s totally bummed because he loves Rosaline and
thinks she, like, doesn’t love him. But Romeo’s homey, Mercutio, tells
him, like, “Chill. Just go. Party down. There’s going to be some fly babes
gets to the party and starts checking out the chicks. He sees Juliet and he
goes, “Who is that babe?” And she goes, “Who is that hunk?” Which is
bad, see, ‘cause, like, Shakespeare already said they got “fatal loins,”
whatever that means, and they’re “star cross’d,” which means both of
them are Aquarians, I think.
don’t stop them. So Romeo starts hitting on her, and they hold hands for a
while and he goes, “O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do.” And
he kisses her, and it’s, like, super rad, I mean totally awesome for both of
them. But then Juliet’s nurse pulls her away, ‘cause, like, in the old
days they really had a cow if they caught you sucking face.
cousin, Tybalt, sees that Romeo is trying to ease in on a Capulet, even though
he’s a Montague, so Tyb says, “Yo, hand me that sword.” But Juliet’s
dad says, “Be cool.”
it’s curfew or something ‘cause everybody has to leave, but when Romeo is
heading for his pad, he says, “Check it out, dudes, I’m gonna bail,” and
he jumps over this big fence into Juliet’s garden. He’s like creeping in
the trees and he looks up at Juliet’s bedroom and goes, “Who left that
light on?” or something like that, and she goes, “O, Romeo, Romeo,
wherefore art thou Romeo?” And it’s like, duh, ‘cause he’s standing
right under her balcony. But maybe she took her contacts out to go to bed.
goes, “Do you want to get married?” and she goes, “Yeah.” So they do. .
. only in secret.
like, right after this, Juliet’s pushy cousin Tybalt shows up again and
starts getting in Romeo’s face. See, he doesn’t know they’re married
‘cause he didn’t get an invitation. And, like, he should be happy, because
he didn’t have to buy an electric tin opener or anything. He wants to kill
Romeo. But Romeo won’t fight him, so Tybalt jumps in Mercutio’s face, and
him and Mercutio start thrashing on each other. Mercutio gets killed, so Romeo
kills Tybalt, which is, like, dumb, ‘cause now him and Juliet aren’t gonna
get any wedding presents.
Prince exiles Romeo, which is, like, being grounded but like in a whole nother
state or something.
and Juliet have to split for a while. Juliet goes, “O, think’st thou we
shall ever meet again?” ‘cause, like, some guys act like they like you a
bunch at school but then they never phone you. You know?
leaves and Juliet is really bumming ‘cause her old man wants her to marry
Paris. Duh! She’s already married. But her parents are still planning a
wedding, so it looks like she’s going to get an electric tin opener one way
or another, or maybe even a microwave. But then this priest guy gives Juliet
this stuff to drink so that everyone will think she’s, like, dead until
Romeo can get back. But this stuff is so good that everybody thinks she really
is dead, and, they put her in this tomb thing, you know.
dreams that Juliet has found him dead, and even though he’s grounded in
another state, he says, “Later. I’m outta here.” He takes off to see
Juliet, but he stops, like at a pharmacy, for some poison. So he misses this
letter that the priest sent that says, “Juliet isn’t dead. She’s, like,
Romeo sees Juliet and he goes, “Ah, dear Juliet, why art thou yet so
fair?” ‘cause, you know, if she was dead she ought to be green and
starting to smell funny. And that totally bums him, so he takes the poison.
Duh! Then you’ll never guess this part. She wakes up and sees Romeo and
goes, “O happy dagger!” and kills herself.
are these people serious or what?