Monday, June 13, 2022

Staging Romeo and Juliet Creatively in The Gilmore Girls

“Run Away, Little Boy.” By Amy Sherman-Palladino and John Stephens. Perf. Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, and Melissa McCarthy. Dir. Danny Leiner. Gilmore Girls. Season 2, episode 9. The WB. 27 November 2001. DVD. Warner Brothers, 2013.

Like many a television series with main characters in high school, Gilmore Girls had its Shakespeare episode. In it, the students are called upon to put on a part of Romeo and Juliet—and to use their creativity to find a setting that will "highlight the themes you see in the scene," according to the professor. Watch the clip below to hear some examples the professor provides.

Rory (the daughter) is in a group with a director who is really only concerned with getting an A. She makes all the decisions—and, for her group, the only sure way to get an A is to do it in Elizabethan dress.

There's not too much actual Shakespeare in the episode (alas and alack), the show being more concerned with inter-personal relationships of various sorts, but we do get a tiny bit of three of the groups' presentations: a caveman balcony scene, a Wall Street street brawl with the injury of Mercutio, and an Elizabeth death scene.

Here are the most relevant sections of the episode:

Just as music producer The Bruce Dickinson cried for "More Cowbell!" so do I call for "More Shakespeare!" But what we get is good. And the assignment calling for creatively—and also purposefully (that's the part that's often missed) re-setting Shakespeare is a good one. I'd just like to hear the justification the students gave for their decisions!

Links: The Episode at IMDB.

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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