SYNOPSIS: A Wild West comedic adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Ramona Mae and Joel are in a disconcerting place. The feud between their papas is the obstacle they face. The local padre catches wise - - Ramona lets it slip - - and Tita wants to teach the boy the in’s and out’s of courtship. His mother, on the other hand, has someone else in mind; Miss Paris is a debutant, the highfalutin’ kind. When crazy Herman steals a horse, Ramona gets the blame. It’s up to Joel to save the day and clear his sweetheart’s name. Some potent pollen conks him cold. Ramona is the cure. She almost wakes him up, but then the pollen gets to her. And so the tragic story ends, but don’t you be misled. The way this
version ends would turn the Bard a shade of red.
Immanuel Lutheran College
Eau Claire, WI
Kewaunee High School
Firth High School
Hutchinson High school
Inspiration behind Ramona and Joel? Some folks might think it's high treason to rewrite the words of Bill Shakespeare, but I would like to point out that I am not the first to do so: West Side Story, The Boys from Syracuse, etc. Even the Bard was known to heist a plot or two himself. A Comedy of Errors was his one-upping of The Brothers Menchmi by the Roman playwright Plautus. Why, even Romeo and Juliet was borrowed from folk legends, including a series of novellas titled "The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet." Still, other folks might be rubbed wrong by my turning a perfectly-good tragedy into a comedy, but allow me to explain. The premise of the play ... young sweethearts separated by their bullheaded fathers and helped along by their clever servants is the very stuff of comedy. The aforementioned Plautus got a whole lot of use out of the same conflict in his plays, comedies all. In a sense, this tragedy has not been turned into a comedy it has been turned back into a comedy. Though Shakespeare's original provides the central framework of the plot, there are several other contributing styles. Certainly, there is an air of nineteenth-century melodrama. The bigwig comedies of the French playwright Moliere are to blame for the rhyming couplets, also known as Alexandrine verse. It is cowboy poetry, however, that inspired the iambic heptameter that's seven feet per line, instead of the customary five feet in pentameter. Finally, the storybook presentational-style of Ramona and Joel owes much to Our Town, by twentieth-century theatricalist Thornton Wilder. If all them big words and dead European folks are scaring you off, don't let em. This play is intended to entertain. If it's performed in the right spirit, this play can be more fun than hornets in your pants! Just ask Herman. There's a trivia question for your program: Why is Herman named Herman? (August Mergelman)
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