Well that was fun. Thanks to Victoria for taking over for me as I operated a demon-dragon. Im back now for Shannon Schultz's "Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here?: The Evolution of Romeo and Juliet." Schultz examines Romeo and Juliet as a phenomenon that has become ingrained in the culture, and how that has a tendency to limit the text in performance. She examines how the characters of Romeo and Juliet have become universal and generic, and have been divorced from the text of the play. Most specifically, Schultz examines the ideals of Romeo and Juliet in popular music across a variety of genre and artists, including Taylor Swift, Pop Evil, and Eagle Eye Cherry. This is necessary toward preserving Shakespeare as a contemporary cultural icon: the repurposing of Shakespeare's works, Romeo and Juliet in particular, is necessary for keeping it alive. Productions of this play must grow beyond the pop culture definitions of what the play means if they are to be successful.
Essentially, popular culture's continued re-processing of Romeo and Juliet is a sign of life. Whether or not that helps or hinders the production of a play is up to the play makers. i.e. us.
That seems like a good place to bring this session of the Spring Thesis festival to a close. We'll be back at 5:30 with our third and final session of the festival.