Hello all. I’d like to start by wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. I’ve wanted to write for a couple of days now, and just wasn’t feeling it. But I do have to share something that happened last night.
The kids and I (minus Daughter J., because she was at a friend’s house) had just gotten home from town, had supper, and finished watching The Voice. We had browsed through some silly TV shows, and somehow or other we got on the topic of Romeo and Juliet. Now as a former English teacher, I have several variations of R&J in my posession- I have both the DiCaprio-Danes movie version and the Hussey-Whiting version. I have a side-by-side modern/archaic written version, and I have the Reduced Shakespeare Company (which is absolutely hilarious, btw). So we decided we’d watch the DiCaprio-Danes movie version of R&J.
We hunted around and found the DVD and watched it, and The Boy sat there completely absorbed through the whole thing. He was totally engaged, hardly asked any questions, which made me assume that he understood it, for the most part. So it was going well, and I was really impressed with him and amazed and proud of him and thinking it was a great educational moment. Right up until the end, when they died and he cried his little eyes out. Ooops.
He jumped up out of his chair, saying “That was so sad!” and threw himself on my lap on the couch, and I was starting to feel like a terrible parent for letting him watch it, knowing his dramatic tendencies, and S. and I were laughing and crying at the same time because we felt so bad for him, but he was so upset it was almost funny, which I know makes zero sense. So I was shushing and comforting him, and then I tried to explain to him how cool it was that he is smart enough to watch and understand and be moved by something that even some of my freshmen weren’t interested in and didn’t get. We talked about how even though it was sad, that there were some good things to learn, like how being impetuous and hot-headed can get you in a ton of trouble, among others. We talked about connections to other things he’s seen, like the R&J quotes used in Twilight: New Moon and in the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. (When Belle is teaching the Beast to read, she’s using R&J.)
So after all that, he was really feeling good about himself and he was proud of what he had learned. Score! I was somewhat concerned about some of the definitely un-kid-friendly images in the movie, but unfortunately he’s seen almost all of that before in other movies and games. (He didn’t watch the honeymoon scene last night, btw.) And today we watched the Reduced Shakespeare Co. version of it, which is a silly, light, humorous stage interpretation, and he said “Thanks for having me watch that!” So I think it kind of set it all in perspective for him today- that it’s just a story and it can be seen as simple entertainment.
So, for better or worse, The Boy has now got a leg up on his future high school peers when it comes to watching R&J in Freshman English. Overall, I think the experience was more esteem-building than damaging, and if not…well, he’s seeing his counselor today anyway.
Until next time,
- Shakespeare Never told Romeo This Ending. (100tragedy.wordpress.com)
- Romeo & Juliet comes to life on the iPad with interactive Explore Shakespeare app (pocket-lint.com)
- Beauty and the Beast Still Winning the Hearts of Audiences Nationwide (vividseats.com)