It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!
These words are from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the well-known tale of ‘star crossed lovers’ who are kept apart because of their warring families. If you haven’t already read it, why not borrow it from the Calibre Audio Library or your local library.
Romeo and Juliet must be one of the most performed plays in the world. It has also been made into memorable films – such as Franco Zefferelli’s beautiful 1968 version which had two inexperienced actors in the lead roles, Olivia Hussey as Juliet being only 15 at the time. Baz Luhrmann’s colourful, updated version, Romeo+Juliet in 1996 made it relevant for young, hip audiences with its gang warfare and guns made by a company called Sword. We feature a scene from this film in our Touch to See book Lights! Camera! Action!
Gang rivalry also features strongly in one of the best musicals of all time, West Side Story, which sets Shakespeare’s story in 1960s New York and pits the Sharks against the Jets. Why not watch these three different adaptations of Shakespeare’s work and then visit the RSC or Shakespeare’s Globe to experience it on stage.
The Globe’s digital theatre website also gives you the option to buy or hire a film of their version of Romeo and Juliet to watch in the comfort of your home. The RSC do fantastic live screenings in cinemas of their most popular plays – they’re really worth catching. Check out their website or your local cinema for details.