Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Private Romeo: A New Film

A new version of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Alan Brown, and featuring an all-male cast,  is sure to become an important film adaptation of this play. Private Romeo will be shown in New York City at the Cinema Village Theatre on E. 12th Street on Friday, February 10th.  If you’re in New York City on the 10th, you should get to the theatre and see it.  The film is suitable for high school students.  It is sure to provoke intense discussion of the play as well as the age-old motifs of love at first sight and all of the implications that come with it.

The film features Matt Doyle and Seth Numrich (War Horse, Lincoln Center run) as two military school students restricted to base, along with a few of their comrades, on a weekend when their fellow cadets go away on a training exercise.  The cadets who remain on base are assigned to continue reading Romeo and Juliet, and the film unfolds from there, with Doyle and Numrich taking on the title roles.  Director Brown has edited the text to a tight 92 minutes, and keeps the vitality of Shakespeare’s language intact. [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/28844270 w=400&h=225]

Private Romeo (Trailer) from The Film Collaborative on Vimeo.

The film will provide teachers with a number of teachable moments, not only about the language of Shakespeare’s play, but also about his observation that “the course of true love never did run smooth” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1.1.136).  The film’s conclusion is sure to prompt debate among viewers.

What films of Shakespeare’s plays have you seen that have generated discussion in class? What’s been the focus of that conversation?


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