‘Cymbeline,’ Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo + Juliet,’ and Why Shakespeare Is So Hard to Adapt for the Screen
When a director does Shakespeare today, it seems there are three options most commonly selected, each of which has its drawbacks. The first is to do a loyal interpretation, maintaining the original setting and time specified by the Bard (for if you’re the type that chooses loyalty, you also may use this insufferable term), but risking the adaptation seeming like an ostentatiously astute encapsulation of a period and lifestyle that’s now irrelevant. The second is to set it in the present day, underscoring the barbarism, archaism, and/or hilarity of a current societal norm by aligning it with Elizabethan text, but also risking bifurcating the text and its original meaning. The third is to set it somewhere and sometime else completely, avoiding the distraction of current day trappings (Lady Macbeth discovers Seinfeld emojis!), not to mention the equally distracting trappings of Elizabethan imitation (vocal fry is especially noticeable when it’s coming from a ruff-encased throat).
“Mr. White’s Tighty Whitey Bites,” “Jesse’s Jell-O Acid Tub,” and Other Treats: Links You Need to See
You know the dangerous feeling of being in a supermarket on an empty stomach, where everything from the dregs of deli chicken salad to frozen tilapia to tabloids plastered in unflatteringly altered photos of John Travolta looking like frozen tilapia not only start to look delicious, but also crucial? Well, I unknowingly must have been hungry while perusing the internet today, because here I am with a shopping cart full of vaguely sustenance-related links.
In Sigrid Nunez’s book The Last of Her Kind, the central character, Georgette, meets her troubling, troubled, wonderful friend Ann when they are both students at Barnard College in New York. I can remember, quite clearly, that school for Georgette consists of her writing a long paper, “Why The Great Gatsby Is Not a Great Book.”