(Blixt’s article appeared on his blog, 2/11; via Pam Green.)
The Window Scene, or I Hate Balconies
You know what drives me consistently crazy? The preconceptions people have about Romeo & Juliet. So often after a student matinee a teacher or a parent will complain: “Why did you add all those sex jokes?” When we explain that we did not add them, they assure us we did. “I know Romeo & Juliet, and that’s not in there!” When we take them through the script line by line, they’re shocked. And then they tell us we shouldn’t have performed it the way Shakespeare wrote it.
I guess it’s important that students read Shakespeare, just so long as they don’t understand it.
We have to remember that Shakespeare knew that sex and violence puts butts in the seats. It worked for the ancient Greeks and Romans, worked for Shakespeare, works today. There are very few Shakespeare plays entirely devoid of dirty jokes (hell, it's what the Porter in Mac exists for). But R&J may be the most jam-packed with both sex and violence.