Saturday, March 30, 2013

Romeo and JulietRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



"Bruce Springsteen mixes Shakespeare’s best known romance with electric guitars, pianos, keyboards and saxophones." (Rolling Stoned)

"Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, cars, bikes, gangs, bangs, brawls, literature, blood, sugar, death, magik, kitchen sinks, meatloaf, clowns. It’s got everythnig." (Grauniad)

"E-Street Bard." (Village Voyce)

"Star-crossed Lovers Killed by Loose Windscreen." (Notional Enquirer)

"The Boss Updates Big Willie" (The Unyun)

"Bruce Shakesteen or William Springspeare: You Decide!" (Variete)

"I Haven't Seen It. Have You Seen My Backlog of GR Notifications?" (Paul Bryant)

"Like." (Bird Brian)

"Well everybody better move over, that's all/He's running on the bad side/And he's got his back to the wall/Tenth avenue freeze-out, tenth avenue freeze-out" (Richard)

"This show sets the bar very high, almost out of reach of regular top-shelf drinking patrons." (Bruce Shakespeare, The Australian Shakespearience Dinner and Floorshow)


Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.


The midnight gang's assembled
And picked a rendezvous for the night
Man there's an opera on the turnpike
There's a ballet being fought in the alley


Three civil brawls, bred of an airy word,
By thee, old Capulet, and Montague,
Have thrice disturb'd the quiet of our streets,
And made Verona's ancient citizens
Cast by their grave beseeming ornaments,
To wield old partisans, in hands as old,
Canker'd with peace, to part your canker'd hate.


Outside the street's on fire
In a real death waltz
Between what's flesh and what's fantasy
And the poets down here
Don't write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be


If ever you disturb our streets again,
Your lives shall pay the forfeit of the peace.
Once more, on pain of death, all men depart.


In the quick of the night
They reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand
But they wind up wounded
Not even dead
Tonight in Jungleland


From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows,
Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.

Enter Romeo, still love-sick for Rosaline.


Rosaline, jump a little higher
Senorita, come sit by my fire
I just want to be your lover, ain't no liar
Rosaline, you're my stone desire


True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy,
Which is as thin of substance as the air
And more inconstant than the wind.


In the day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway Italian dream
At night we ride through the mansions of glory in suicide machines

Romeo, still pining for Rosaline, discovers Juliet and becomes newly infatuated.


Juliet, let me in, I wanna be your friend,
I want to guard your dreams and visions

Bruce realises he has competition for Juliet’s love and wants to elope without her parents’ permission.


Together we could break this trap
We'll run till we drop, baby we'll never go back

Romeo pleads even harder, now he has learned about his rival, Bruce.


I gotta know how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
Babe, I want to know if love is real
Oh, Juliet, can you show me

Juliet learns that Romeo comes from a rival family.


My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!

Juliet falls for Romeo regardless.


What ’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Juliet decides she must confront Bruce and tell him they are not meant to be.


Bruce, the angels have lost their desire for us
I spoke to them just last night
and they said they won't
set themselves on fire
for us anymore

Bruce persists, trying to hold onto the memory of their love.


I'm really sorry, Bruce
I've gotta set you loose
I know you've got a beat up old Buick
And dreams of something better for me
But, frankly, I just can't see it
My vision for me can't be achieved
In the back seat of a second hand Fiat
While your friends hang around drinking Corona


You say you don't like it
But girl I know you're a liar
'Cause when we kiss
Ooooh, Fire

Juliet grows weak and almost falls.


What is wrong, my love?


I have the worst headache.


Here take some of these now, and again when you feel the pain coming on.

Bruce gives her a small glass bottle of non-prescription drugs. Blue tablets.


How many should I take?


No more than two every four hours.

Juliet takes three tablets immediately.


It hurts me to say but you gotta know it
There’s no point in remaining coy
I can’t marry you, Bruce.
I could never be happy with a boy
From Long Branch, New Jersey
No amateur actor or drama queen
No busboy, bellhop or dead ringer
For De Niro or a film student from Pomona
Not for me, your guitar-slinging outlaw singer
I crave more than an Asbury Duke or an E Street Loner.

Romeo looks dashing in his open-necked shirt and film director scarf. Juliet has never seen anything like him.

The love between Romeo and Juliet grows in leaps and bounds.


My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.


Beneath the city two hearts beat
Soul engines running through a night so tender
In a bedroom locked
In whispers of soft refusal
And then surrender.


I long for a real hot-blooded man
An alpha male of the highest order
A man of another world from here
Someone from across the border

I don't just mean New Jersey
Or Philadelphia, PA
You see, I love a Prince from far Verona
With a flash suit and money to burn,
A mansion and a real fast car
A smart haircut and a leather-coated boner

He’s waiting for me now
I've got him in my view
He's the rising son
Of the House of Montague


Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we're young
Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run


Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast.

Juliet feels no relief for her headache. She opens the bottle and takes another two tablets. It’s only an hour since her last dose.


I want to be a star
Of the stage and screen
I don't want a bit part
Or a role that’s obscene

I've had enough of men who work
All week for minimum wages
I want to be remembered
Through time eternal...and for ages and ages

My love’s a director who makes serious films
Not just action flics designed to wow
Even his money men are all agreed
“Romeo, Romeo, we’re for art now”

The moment he cast his eyes on me
He sat me down and cast me on his couch
He said he’d get my photo in the magazines
And we’d drive around all night in limousines

Romeo and Juliet resolve to escape in Romeo’s car.


Just so I could live in this promised land
I turned my back on Bruce’s traveling band
No more Buicks or Fiats for this Capulet
Dear husband, I pledge to be your wife, Juliet
So I can feature in a film cameo
In the front seat of your Alfa, Romeo.

Tybalt chases them on a motor bike. He crosses suddenly into Romeo's path and clips the front edge of the car. He loses control of his bike and falls to the thundering road. Romeo can't avoid running over the top of Tybalt and killing him. Still, Romeo rolls his car three times while taking evasive action, and both Romeo and Juliet are knocked unconscious when their heads hit the side door panels.


I dreamt my lady came and found me dead (in that order).

Juliet wakes first, only to look over to the driver’s seat, where she sees Romeo. She can’t tell if he is alive or dead. She realises that her headache has now become extreme. If she can treat her pain, she can try to help Romeo.

She touches her forehead where it hit the inside of the car door and pulls her hand away, covered in blood that still seems to be flowing profusely. Tears form in her eyes and her eyesight becomes blurry. She reaches into her purse and takes another four tablets, in the hope that it will kill her pain. She lapses into unconsciousness.

Shortly afterwards, Romeo awakes and finds Juliet still beside him. There is blood everywhere and a white froth has descended from her lips and dried on her chin.


O my love! my wife!
Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath,
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty:
Thou art not conquer'd; beauty's ensign yet
Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks,
And death's pale flag is not advanced there.

Romeo wipes the froth from her lips and gives her one last kiss. He lifts the left leg of his trousers and pulls out his knife.


O, here
Will I set up my everlasting rest,
And shake the yoke of inauspicious stars
From this world-wearied flesh. Eyes, look your last!
Arms, take your last embrace! and, lips, O you
The doors of breath, seal with a righteous kiss
A dateless bargain to engrossing death!
Come, bitter conduct, come, unsavoury guide!
Thou desperate pilot, now at once run on
The dashing rocks thy sea-sick weary bark!
Here's to my love!

Romeo drags the knife across his throat. He drops the knife and holds his hand to the artery in his neck. He continues to feel the slow, regular pumping of his heart, until it pumps no more.

Now, Juliet wakes again. Still groggy, she looks over to Romeo. Convinced by the abundance of blood that he has died, she shakes the rest of the tablets in the bottle into her hand and swallows them eagerly.


O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.

She kisses Romeo and dies.


Never was a story of more woe
Than this of Bruce, Juliet and her Romeo.

Bruce lives alone and works his day job, almost like an automaton. His only salvation is the time he spends in his beat up old Buick. Every night, he drives the streets of Verona, haunted by the love he felt for Juliet and the guilt that it was the pills he gave her that took her life. Sometimes, through the tears in his eyes, he imagines that he sees her walking down the street, only to lose sight of her as she slips quietly down an alleyway.


You're still in love with all the wonder she brings
And every muscle in your body sings as the highway ignites
You work nine to five and somehow you survive till the night
Hell all day they're busting you up on the outside
But tonight you're gonna break on through to the inside
And it'll be right, it'll be right, and it'll be tonight

And you know she will be waiting there
And you'll find her somehow you swear
Somewhere tonight you run sad and free
Until all you can see is the night.


Please don't sue me, Boss.

How can I possibly argue that your lyrics deserve to be on the same page as Shakespeare, unless I shamelessly misappropriate them in the pursuit of parody, pastiche, spoof, send-up or lampoon?

This isn't damning with faint praise. This is no piss-take. This is a full-on homage, a big hurrah, a laud almighty. I say, more kudos to the Boss!

As the literary theorist Linda Hutcheon puts it (as quoted by my WikiLawyer), " imitation, not always at the expense of the parodied text."

I already have multiple copies of your albums on both CD and vinyl, even the boring ones. I don't need any more, until you release 50th anniversary editions with bonus disks I don't already have. [I really hope I'm still around in 2045, so I can be the first to buy "The Ghost of Tom Joad Uncut".]

If that doesn't convince you it's not worth suing me, Brucewad, I won't have any money left to support this great music industry of ours that is being killed by illegal downloads.

Please get your lawyers to spare my humble upload.

And if they do come looking for me, they'd better be pretty damned fit, coz tramps like us, baby we were born to run.

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