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DISC: Settings and Costumes of Plays

Corun MacAnndra wrote:
> Alfredo writes (possibly with tongue in cheek, but it's hard to tell):
> >                          I actually attended a production of
> > "West Side Story" where the director had decided (for whatever
> > reason) to transfer the entire action to Renaissance Italy!
> > He took out all the songs, too
> Um, are you sure you hadn't wandered into a production of Romeo and
> Juliet (not written by Leonard Shakespeare or William Bernstein).

and Aislynn Fyrlocc wrote:

> Let's see, West Side Story, placed in Renaissance Italy, without music....
> Sounds to me like he really wanted to do (and probably should have done)
> Romeo and Juliet, but he didn't want to have to deal with the Shakespearian
> English...
> Wouldn't just have been simpler to do R&J straight?  After all, same story,
> different location (and the director changed the location back.....)

Yes, I must admit, I _had_ wandered into a production where the
director had, in fact, decided to do "Romeo & Juliet" straight.
But, seriously, I have read that Orson Welles did a modern-dress
version of "Julius Caesar", and the text of the play hints that
William Shakespeare also did a modern-dress version.  (Pulling
daggars out of doublets rather than togas, etc.)

My lady wife reports having seen a production of "Much Ado About
Nothing" set in the Spanish-American War era.  Methinks the costumes
of Kenneth Branaugh's film of that play were slightly out-of-Period,
as well (but I'm no expert).

My point was merely that the mundanes who believed (or chose to
act as if they believed) that a man in doublet-and-hose was in
a production of "West Side Story" were not necessarily ignorant
of the clothing styles of mid-twentieth-century New York.

-- Alfredo

Ed Hopkins
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