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Inhaltsangabe: This book renders William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet play in a poetic modern language. The story takes place in a distant future, in a secular Canadian setting. The reader will therefore have a few surprises regarding both the characters and the storyline. Despite this, most of Shakespeare's play shines through with an undiminished power.
For the 2016 worldwide Shakespeare celebration ? the ?Hogarth programme? ? many writers are taking on the task of retelling his plays in the form of a novel.
This book was born from the idea of setting Romeo and Juliet not in the past, and not in the present, but in a ?far distant future?, that is, hundreds of years from now, and asking the questions: will the story hold together in this case, and how? How much of the original play can be kept?
In order to preserve the linguistic richness of the original, I used not only a modern, but also a correspondingly poetic style of writing ? thus, the similarity with Shakespeare's own language. Despite the changes in the setting, characters, and storyline, I only minimally altered and excised lines from the play, keeping as much of Shakespeare's text as possible.
It was irresistible to place the story in a Canadian setting, and I envision a future Canada that is part of an open, borderless world. A world that is international in its ethos. One that is significantly less nationalistic than the one in which we live today. Perhaps as an extension of the theory of the European Union project, a united world would be made up of countries governed according to an international Constitution. Gradually bolstered and brought in, countries of the third world would prosper alongside their wealthier counterparts, which in their turn would benefit from a new, fully global economy.
Such a borderless society, four hundred or so years from now to be specific, would be a secular one, and this required some small and not so small changes to Shakespeare's text. Also, this story - projected into a future characterized by a rather more humane society - necessitated a Romeo who does not commit murder, not even for the sake of revenge.
Despite these changes, my main goal was to keep the dramatic tension of the play undiminished, so that after reading the New Romeo and Juliet ? which, by the way, also has a slightly different ending ? the reader ends up with the feeling that he or she had read something that is not much different from the original, and asks the question: why new Romeo and Juliet?
SCENE I. Scarborough. A public place.
(Scarborough?s social code of honour allows the use of stylized pugil sticks as weapons for duel challenges between its residents. These martial sticks look like long wooden spoons, whose intricate handles have carved bowls at both ends. This particular day when the story begins, Sampson and Gregory, two chefs from the clan of Capulet, are out for a walk.)
Gregory, ever since Canada claimed the North Pole
none of my ancestors felt this much antagonized.
We cannot let them animate us like that.
No, because then we would be living cartoons.
What I mean is that if they enrage my blood I charge.
Your blood simmers like water ?
you can discharge but vapours of distress
from your humid personality.
Is that what you call being enraged?
Any dirty magician from the clan of Montague
can change all that, and bring my blood to a boil.
Sampson, you are no less of a chef than I am.
So, when it boils over, use the spoon to bring it under control.
But you probably have not mastered spooning.
I can bring under control any man or woman of their clan
with this terrifying spoon, mate.
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