Tag Archives: Theater

My First Chinese Dragon!

26 Sep

Great Theatre – Romeo et Juliette

20 Jan

I will admit that the last three or so years have seen most of my literary/historical interest turned toward more Oriental shores, as my heart was swept away by the fantasies and beautiful stories of the Chinese, Korean, and Japanese story-tellers.  But not so long ago, I was rather an English Major–the much devoted student of all things English lit and writing.  For 4 years I delved into the depths of Poe, Byron, and Plath, consuming works from nearly every continent and genre.  In all of that time, I had three favorite courses– Chaucer, Greek Epics, and Shakespeare.  While I have always had a particular fondness for rhyming poetry that brings forth the melodic hum in it’s natural form, I was somewhat surprised to find that these classes were so captivating. As a life-long enthusiastic reader, mysteries have rather been my thing, with the classical authors approached only briefly after watching related films or right before exams.  

But with the more mature discovery of these authors in college, I found them endearing not just for the quiet quality that comes so precious to any introvert, but also for the the theatrical element that spoke to the artist within.  For nothing is as glorious as The Odyssey or The Comedy of Errors acted out upon a stage.  Chaucerian poems are nearly dead unless they are spoken aloud with the rising and falling tones, inflections of speach and emphatic hand movements which the words cry out for.  And so I have found myself quite in love with theatre and the beautiful world of acting.  

It was during my senior year that I came across Shakespeare’s perhaps greatest work ever acted out on a French stage in “Romeo et Juliette.”  Talented musician, Gérard Presgurvic, wrote both the music and the lyrics of the beautiful work, which was first shown in Paris in 2001. From there, it would find its way onto stages in dozens of countries and in numerous languages, each adopting their own cultures interpretation and delicate touch.  While I have never seen any of the versions in person (Although if I ever visit a location where it’s showing I’m desperate to go), I have seen several online and I have to say the Parisian version is still my favorite.  

There just a beauty and elegance to it that fits perfectly in with Shakespeare’s voice–in a message of youth, folly, and that every treacherous sense of “Passion” that has led so many to death and destruction.  Those who hear the tale of Romeo and Juliette seem to fall into two categories–those who love it as the “greatest love story of all time” and those who hate it as “just another story of two stupid kids.” But this play successfully shows that Shakespeare was communicating so much more. It isn’t just the tale of Romeo and Juliet; it’s about their parents who seem so distant and yet loved their children so dearly, about their friends who were no less stupid or reckless regardless of whether they loved a girl or their own pride more, and about the world that had to deal with them. It isn’t just about an ancient Verone; it’s about modern Paris, Jeon-ju Korea, or local Iowa City, IA.  It’s about life and those who live it. And it is breath-taking.  

If you are interested in checking out the Parisian version with English Subs, there are two versions that I can recommend:

DragonHeart06 translated it and posted the Playlist several years ago; it can be found here.

Within the past year, OperaGhosette has posted another, clearer translated version; however you have to go to each video separately on her account since there is no playlist. You can find that version here.

I personally recommend buying the Soundtrack online too.



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