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White Trash Classics Presents: Romeo and Juliet


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Two rival families in far Verona and two young people pathetically in love...? Or maybe not? What if this was set in Indiana?

We all know the story: Romeo, Juliet, two rival families and fair Verona. Perhaps the most adapted (and adopted) of Shakespeare’s plays, from gnomes to tarot cards, to Hollywood films and best-loved musical productions, we have seen these two unfortunate lovers under every guise and shape. ‘White Trash Classics Presents: Rome and Juliet’ provides yet another attempt at rewriting this famous story, and dare I say quite a pleasant one!

What I enjoyed the most about this particular adaptation is the metre: the author maintains a rather sound rhyme scheme throughout, which makes the verses harmonious and easy to read, despite the fact that the language used is certainly not an elevated one! The syntax is vibrant and full of colloquialisms and modern slangs which make the story entertaining and frankly hilarious at times, a feature which would possibly makes it all the more appealing to young audiences (and with this I mean, students who were too intimidated by Shakespearian language to dare approach reading him before).

The parodic element imbues this retelling and brings life to it, making it absolutely relatable because…let’s be honest, haven’t we all thought at some point, during our first reading of ‘Romeo and Juliet’, that these two were being a bit…too much? Well, the author exploits this idea too in full force, having the other characters bluntly telling Romeo and Juliet when they are being ridiculous, with no hesitation whatsoever. Making fun of how pathetic the tones they used when speaking to each other is such a relief for the audience, if you ask me! It feels exactly like when you are watching a horror movie and you yell at the young lady not to open the door or not to go checking who is there, only this time she can hear you and avoid actually getting murdered.

Unfortunately, I am not sure a happy fate is what awaits our modern Romeo and Juliet indeed ((no spoilers but we all know this story, I reckon)), nevertheless their tale here is presented as degraded, desecrated and utterly and most vulgarly profane…another reason to read it if you have had enough with the sugar! In the word of a hard-core Shakespeare fan, whose favourite play is, not coincidentally, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, I completely recommend this reading, which will feel like a breath of fresh hair compared to the tragedy we are used to!

Reviewed by

I am in the senior sophister year of my BA in English Literature and Classics, writing a thesis on John Keats’ poetry and 19th-century Victorian literature. I majored in English and I am specialized in reviewing children's books and classics. Tips for my work are greatly appreciated!

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About the author

When not writing or seeing hospitalized patients, DM Schwartz (MD, MBA) enjoys mountain biking, making short films and spending time with his wife and their four children, four dogs, three ferrets and sole beard dragon. view profile

Published on January 11, 2021

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20000 words

Genre: Plays & Screenplays

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