Observations: A pair of Tweet-crossed lovers
Friday 16 April 2010
It's been all over cyberspace but is it any good? Since Sunday, a modern-day version of Romeo & Juliet – renamed Such Tweet Sorrow – has been unfolding in real time, through live tweets from the six main characters, and so far, if you're a Twitter junkie who likes a good story, the answer's a resounding yes.
It's a clever idea, to feed into our current obsession with knowing people's thoughts and actions immediately: today, day two, I've just learnt that hash dealer and internet cafe owner Laurence Friar has sponsored Nurse Jess (a trainee solicitor and Juliet's older sister) who's training for the London Marathon, that Mercutio is asking the public to tweet ideas of how to wake a snoring Romeo up and that Juliet can't decide whether to wear black or colour to her mum's memorial service. Then there's her brother Tybalt, a bad boy on the verge of being expelled from boarding school who has been unusually quiet so far today, but whose final tweet last night was about Montague scum, leaving followers in no doubt as to whose side he's on.
Perhaps one of the most exciting elements is that not even the writing team, who are from Mudlark, a cross-platform production company, nor the RSC actors taking part, know exactly how things are going to pan out. While the actors are given daily notes and have certain scheduled, structured tweet encounters (such as Juliet's 16th birthday party next week, which she's set to naively announce to the world on Twitter), the cast are also interacting with tweets from the public and reacting to real-life events. The RSC's aim is to help the Bard to appeal to new, younger audiences (which this will), but while it certainly makes a fun, interesting comparison to the original and works perfectly well as a stand-alone piece, how many Twitter followers actually then go into a theatre to watch some actual Shakespeare, remains to be seen.
Follow 'Such Tweet Sorrow' for the next four weeks on http://suchtweetsorrow.com
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