‘So long lives this…’ Life After Page

2016 is a year of adaptations, from stage to screen to screen to stage. School of Rock debuted on Broadway, based on the hit film of the same name. Spring Awakening and Hamilton are rumoured to make the jump to screen in recorded versions. And that Wicked rumour of a live action remake continues to swirl. Unlimited…the rumours are unlimited…

One screen adaptation in particular attracted my attention this weekend. ABC is doing a TV series based on Melinda Taub’s book Still Star-Crossed based on the play Romeo and Juliet. When I first saw the news, I was a tad skeptical but more excited. ‘A TV series about Romeo and Juliet?! Obviously it’s going to focus on Romeo and Benvolio and Mercutio and they could do each episode from a different POV, leading up to the finale. So we might actually get conjecture as to the fate of Benvolio. Why doesn’t he appear after 3.1?! Does he die? Does he start a wild affair with Lady Montague and is killed by Lady Capulet as one conspiracy theorizes?! No, really.’ Basically, I have a lot of theories.

When I saw the actual synopsis, I realised it takes place after the play. I am all for conjecture as to what takes place off stage and believing that just because a play ends, it doesn’t mean the world the play has created does. But arguably, there’s a reason it stops there. You have pretty much all the best characters: Romeo, Tybalt and Mercutio. And Paris, but no one really liked him anyway. Also, judging by the trailer, the continuance of the parents rage is still continuing apparently, despite the fact that the two families reconcile so freely that Montague builds a giant statue to commemorate Juliet. No, really: ‘I will raise her statue in pure gold’.

When I read further, my fears were further founded: ‘The series stars Anthony Head as Lord Capulet, Grant Bowler as Lord Montague, Greg Chillin as Mercutio, Torrance Coombs as Paris…’ Spoilers: two of those characters die in the play. So…not sure what source material we’re working from here. Which then caused another fear to surface: what if it’s not in early modern verse? If it’s not, which I am assuming, I very much hope they just go full blown modern on the language. Because the unfortunate amongst us still remember just how terrible Julian Fellowe’s early modern made easy Romeo and Juliet was.

I will be interested to see more when the first full trailer debuts. I’ll watch the first episode no doubt, but woe betide the producers should it not be faithful. For never would there be a story of more wonder/Than if ABC tore Romeo and Juliet assunder.

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