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Romeo tweets Juliet

May 13, 2010

Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet more than four centuries ago. Since then it has been retold in many ways on stage and screen. Over the past five weeks the star-crossed lovers have come to life on Twitter in “Such Tweet Sorrow,” as six characters tweet their thoughts, messages, and more.

Actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) are following a design created by the production company Mudlark under the direction of the RSC. The players write their own tweets, based on background material that includes a diary detailing where the characters are at any time and what they are feeling. Romeo might tweet what he had for breakfast or proclaim his never-ending love – and tweets come in real time, adding to the drama. It’s almost like a soap opera.

The characters are updated versions of Shakespeare’s bunch. Friar Laurence is Laurence Friar, a middle-aged bookstore owner in whom young people confide. There are only a few days remaining, so if you want to catch up, check out “The Story So Far.”

This is an amazing idea! Producing a “play” in Twitter takes it to an unusual audience, for one thing, and these are professionals, not a random group. Some will argue that this is the worst kind of pandering, but art forms are constantly changing. We should be glad that a prestigious group was willing to seriously explore a new medium.

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