INTRODUCTION to the CyberClassics version of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

Ever since Shakespeare's time, others have adapted his plays to their times, audiences, the skills of their actors, and their own artistic temperaments. Such adaptations have often involved setting the plays in other times and places and/or modifying the scripts---eliminating or shifting some or all of a scene to another scene or substantially shortening the play. Some more recent adaptations have modernized and simplified some of Shakespeare's language to make his plays more comprehensible and accessible to modern audiences.

Since the advent of moving pictures (movies) in the late 19th century, many of Shakespeare's plays have been adapted for that new arts and communications medium, thus appealing to wider and more disparate audiences all over the world. Now, at the outset of the 21st century, it is our turn to adapt Shakespeare's plays to the new digital media of our time. How shall we do it?

This CyberClassics version of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet offers its audience a variety of ways to experience the play:
  1. Read the play on-screen (on any digital device such as a computer, e-reader, smart phone, etc.) with the CyberClassics version, which consists of scene-by-scene postings of Shakespeare's text only (without line numbers or explanatory notes); you can also print out this version to read to yourself or read aloud/perform with others.
  2. Read a print edition of the play, many of which include line numbers with corresponding explanatory notes, scene-by-scene plot summaries, study guides, suggestions for performance, history of the play in performance over time, essays by literary critics, and often much more; others present the play in Shakespeare's original language side-by-side with a more modern English version; still others are re-tellings of the story (often for younger readers) in prose, simplified verse, comic book, and, more recently as graphic novels.  (A wide selection of such print versions of the play are described, reviewed by customers, and available for purchase from the CyberClassics Store: The Play in Print).
  3. View scenes from movie adaptations of the play available as YouTube postings that include selections from:  Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film: William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet, Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 film Romeo and Juliet, and Renato Castellani's 1954 film Romeo and Juliet. (See Cyberfiction Conversation: Ethical and economic considerations in intellectual property rights.)These movies are also available (along with customer reviews) for purchase on DVD, VHS, and On-Demand Video from the CyberClassics Store: The Play on Film
  4. View and /or listen to adaptations of the story of Romeo and Juliet to other art forms available as YouTube postings that include selections from : Sergey Prokofiev's great ballet Romeo and Juliet; Piotr Tchaikovsky's  Fantasy-Overture (Romeo and Juliet); the 1961 movie West Side Story, based on the highly acclaimed stage musical; a 1992 BBC animated version version of the play; a satirical slapstick take on the play by The Reduced Shakespeare Company; Romeo x Juliet, a 2009 Japanese anime, loosely based on Romeo and Juliet; and the Dire Straits song "Romeo and Juliet." These all may be viewed as YouTube postings and/or purchased on DVD, VHS, and On-Demand Video from the CyberClassics Store: Related Videos.
  5. Listen to audio recordings of the play by downloading a free MP3 audio book version of Romeo and Juliet, buying a recording of the play performed by professional actors from the CyberClassics Store: The Play-in-Audio, and, for people with vision impairment, using text-to-speech software on a computer.
  6. Learn about the play through online lessons and activities, as well as other learning resources from the CyberClassics Store: Study Guides.
  7. Teach the play with online lesson plans, as well as teaching resources from the CyberClassics Store: Teaching Materials.
  8. Perform or read the play aloud with family, friends, or classmates with the help of web articles and books on performing the play, as well as adaptations of the play for younger and/or amateur productions. Books available from the CyberClassics Store: Performing the Play.
  9. Watch and critique a range of student productions of the play posted on You Tube.
  10. Engage in Digital Media Literacy Activities and a Virtual Reading Discussion Group about Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare for the digital age.
So, take a look at the side bar at right and begin your CyberClassics experience with Romeo and Juliet wherever and however you wish.