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Shakespeare Sin Subtitulos

My first encounter with Shakespeare was “Romeo and Juliet.” In the beginning I struggled with the language to understand what was happening but with the help of Cliff Notes and a great English teacher I ended up falling in love with the story.

What romantic, idealistic 15 year-old girl wouldn’t? It’s the original teenage drama love story. Before 90201, Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill and the O.C. (I am showing my age) there was Romeo and Juliet.

But what happens when the Capulets and Montagues turn into Los Capuletos y Los Montescos? Damn! What was I thinking accepting the invitation of attending the theater to see a modern Spanish version of Romeo y Julieta? Shakespeare in English is hard enough so why did I subject myself to the torture of attending the play with my matador, because as I said early I have a weak-spot for the story.

The actors, the stage setting, the change between scenes and the overall interpretation of the play was brilliant however I struggled for two hours trying to catch words that I knew or familiar phrases. NADA! I never even heard, “O Romeo, Romeo wherefor art thou Romeo” and that is like THE most popular phrase from this play. My saving grace– I had a pre-existing knowledge of the play and every few moments my boyfriend would translate what was being said.

Sensing my feeling of defeat, my boyfriend boosted my bruised ego by confiding he too was having a hard time following because the actors were saying their lines with such great speed. The dialogue also was very hard as they tried to maintain the metaphor-heavy, poetic, blank-verse style that Shakespeare was known for. FYI- blank verse is a type of poetry that has a regular meter (a bit monotonous) and no rhyme (it’s not Dr. Seuss). And this was coming from a man who is writer and a lover of literature.

With my ego lifted, I returned to the second act and relaxed. I decided I didn’t need to understand word for word what was being said. The actors along with the staging were done well enough that I was able to follow the story with ease. Al final, the ending was still as dramatic in Spanish and I gasped the same way I did the first time I read the play.

Now just because I was able to transform this frustrating experience into an enjoyable one doesn’t mean I will be looking for any further Spanish Shakespearian performances too soon. I think the only thing I could probably handle right now is La Bella & La Bestia on Ice.

-Espana Fly

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