Betterly’s introduction will be followed by a screening of the 1996 Baz Luhrmann movie adaptation, Romeo + Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes. Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor known as the “Bard of Avon.” His writings, which include Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth, are considered some of the finest works in the English language.
The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy Shakespeare penned early in his playwriting career, about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare’s most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers. In Baz Luhrmann’s MTV-inspired adaptation, an abridged modernization of Shakespeare’s play, the setting is updated from Italy to the hip, imaginary Southern California suburb of Verona Beach. While it retains the original Shakespearean dialogue, the Montagues and the Capulets are represented as warring business empires and swords are replaced by guns with brand names such as “Dagger” and “Sword”. The gun-toting members of the families wage a vicious war on the streets as the star-crossed lovers meet their tragic destiny.