A Suicidal Play by William Shakespeare (just modernized)

Hey guys, welcome back to another blog post. Today we will be recapping and reflecting on probably the most eventful project of this year, so lets get right into it!

The driving question for this project was “How can we present a live audio story (Romeo and Juliet) that makes an audience appreciate the relevance of Shakespeare?” Now based off of that question… you should probably know we made a live audio story! But thats not all we did this project. We also made TWO podcast episodes, and watched over 3 adaptations of Romeo and Juliet. 

Well the project started off with learning about Romeo and Juliet. We went through the play and really reviewed what made Romeo and Juliet so famous and popular even today. Believe it or not, Romeo and Juliet was first performed over 500 years ago! The fact that it is still relevant today is amazing. Some would call it, a classic story. But what really makes a classic? I mean, we always talk about a “classic” book, or a movie is a “classic.” But what really makes a form of a media a classic? Well that was the topic of my first podcast episode in this project.

This podcast episode was different from my other episodes. If you don’t already listen to it, I recommend it. If you do… then you know that my normal podcast format is a monologue including an interview with someone. For this episode however, the class was introduced to a new format. Co-hosted podcasts! For this episode I collaborated with Holly and Meg to discuss what makes a topic. It was an interesting time, recording the podcast. I had a lot more fun recording with them then I normally do recording by myself. Editing was fun too, because I could talk to them about problems all three of us had, since we recorded together. There are other pros to co-hosted podcasts that I got to experience though. With more than one person always talking, it is a lot more entertaining. If you have a good relationship with your co-hosts, you can easily joke around with them. I think the biggest pro, is that you can have conversations with your co-hosts. Now that you have three different perspectives, you can debate, argue, and discuss so many different topics. It’s a lot more interesting for the listener. 

Boarding School Juliet – an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet aimed at anime fans

This doesn’t mean that a co-hosted podcast is flawless. There are cons to this format. One that my group had trouble with was not interrupting each other. While editing, I had to cut a lot because someone interrupted someone else. Another problem was audio troubles. We recorded with one mic so someone had the possibility of sounding muffled and faraway. It is also impossible to have three teenagers sit still. Something the three of us learned the hard way. I HATED having to edit every little movement Holly made. But after all of that we came out with newfound knowledge about another podcasting format.

Now, I did say that we made two podcast episodes this project. With the same group, I got to put the experience and ideas from the last podcast and put them to the test. One idea my group had was map out what we were talking about. We did do this before. We had a layout and ideas we wanted to talk about. But this time, we had someone control the conversation. They would make sure that the conversation stayed on track and didn’t get derailed. This helped the whole interrupting problem a lot, and made for some really interesting conversations because we weren’t overriding each other the entire time. 

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet

The topic for that episode was all about what makes an adaptation. The reason for that was because in class we were watching two different adaptations of Romeo and Juliet. One was a version by Franco Zeffirelli(1968), and another by Baz Luhrmann(1996). Each had their own different twist to make it more appealing to the audience of the time. We looked at the different events that happened in each year to see why they decided to adapt what they did. For example, 1968 was a year of protesting violence. So Zeffirelli’s version was very peaceful. It avoiding any conflict, and if it did, there wasn’t any blood.

Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet

So lets go back to that driving question. “How can we present a live audio story (Romeo and Juliet) that makes an audience appreciate the relevance of Shakespeare?” Now with all the knowledge about classics, adaptations, and Romeo and Juliet, PLP 10 had to make their own adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. We decided that our adaptation was going to be two college students listening to a radio show of Romeo and Juliet. We went through many drafts of the script. It was a gruelling time for the script team, a constant barrage of critique. In the day though, we ended up writing a completely new story a couple days before the performance. The lesson I leaned from that is “always be open to new ideas. They could be the reason the boast stays afloat.”

Gnomeo and Juliet – another adaptation aimed at a younger generation

I think I grew a lot this project. I learned a lot about co-hosting a podcast, and how to collaborate with others in a podcasting environment. I learned a lot about different forms of media, and how adaptations are essential to keep a piece of media relevant. I think the biggest growth I had this project was in the radio show. In the radio show, I played Romeo. This was way out of my comfort zone, and a role I originally did not want to take. The idea of performing like that scared me, but I felt like this role would I move my performance and speaking abilities. I was right, but I also grew in other ways too. In the beginning, I was “too monotone”. This was something I was told over and over and over and over again. So I had to learn how to show emotion just through words. I watched the lines in the adaptations we watched to see how the actors said them. I practiced and practiced, and I actually think I did pretty well. That is up to you to decide though so go watch the video at the top of this post. I even had fun performing. That was something I didn’t think I would say at the start of this project. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and I had fun. 

All in all, it was a good project. Have a good one. 

2 thoughts on “A Suicidal Play by William Shakespeare (just modernized)

  1. dylans says:

    It was cool to hear about the process that goes into making a podcast. It was also interesting to read about how the same plot of a story can be made into very different adaptations. Your post was really fun to read. I’ve read other things where people write very informatively, but your post was written very well, and had some life to it.

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