An Intricate Mix of Shakespearean English and Spanish

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Phuc Nguyen during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


When I was watching the bilingual version of the Romeo y Julieta play in school, I noticed it was a unique play because could you imagine female actors playing male roles and males playing female roles? And they used their limited stage very well- If you could call it a stage- it was just a few banners with images of walls and that was about it. They ran between the banners (some had images of a large door) making it feel like they were really exiting the building they were in. But my one major complaint is that it was extremely hard to understand what they were saying. Since I was new to Shakespearean English and wasn’t exactly good at Spanish either, I don’t think you would really enjoy it if you were like me and couldn’t understand it pretty well.

Romeo y Julieta is a play about two characters, Romeo and Julieta, wanting to be together. But their families, the Montagues and the Capulets, have a strong hatred for each other so it wouldn’t work out too well if the families found out Romeo and Julieta were together. But they still loved each other so they would try to keep their relationship a secret. However, an incident happened causing Romeo to be evicted, so Julieta made a plan with someone. But it went horribly and both families ended up accepting each other because of what happened to their children.

One of the elements that made the play difficult to understand was the language; if you aren’t used to their Shakespearean language, you aren’t going to enjoy it because this English is very different from modern English. So, go into Romeo and Julieta with an understanding of the very different Shakespearean English so you can enjoy it. And one more element was also the language element again; the play was also in Spanish so it made it confusing for me because I don’t know Spanish that well, making it a bit less enjoyable for me. It was still good though; I would’ve enjoyed it a lot more if those problems were gone. Go give a watch if you haven’t!

Lead photo credit: Romeo y Julieta by Seattle Shakespeare Company. Photo by Christian Zumbado.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

This review was written as part of an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School in Mrs. Fishman’s Language Arts classes, taught by Press Corps teaching artist Jordi Montes.

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