BERLIN — "Star-crossed lovers” exist in every century — even ours. Nick Brous, a member of the Class of 1986 of Worcester Preparatory School, and his team at First Folio Productions are working to demonstrate just that with a show in Ocean City on Sunday, Sept. 30.
Brous and his team are producing a film version of "Romeo and Juliet" as a pilot for a program to make the great works of Shakespeare relevant to high school students. In this film version of the famous love story, the only thing 16th century is the dialogue. Everything else is 21st century.
Montague and Capulet are two high schools with rival football teams. Romeo and Juliet text each other. While Juliet wonders “wherefore art thou Romeo?”, she’s checking out his pictures on Facebook. This film comes with an anti-bullying message by portraying Tybalt as a bully who starts all the trouble by picking a fight with Romeo in the boys’ locker room.
In addition to "Romeo and Juliet," the First Folio pipeline also includes 21st century film versions of "Hamlet", "Macbeth", "Othello", "A Midsummer Night’s Dream", and "Antony and Cleopatra". Like the "Romeo and Juliet" pilot film, each of these films will be set in the 21st century, with every line delivered in the context of something familiar and relevant to high school students.
The goal of First Folio is to provide teachers with educational tools that can be used either in the classroom, as homework assignments, or both. Each DVD package will also come with special features including a teacher’s edition and suggested lesson plans. Also in development at First Folio is the documentary, “What Makes Shakespeare Shakespeare?” designed to work in conjunction with high school English and history classes by describing how the Renaissance, Henry VIII’s break from Rome, and the colonization of America enabled Shakespeare to produce his immense and unparalleled body of work.
First Folio Productions will partner with not-for-profit organizations in order to raise funding by offering a tax-deduction to contributors. This funding will be used to create the DVD packages, which will then be provided to teachers and high school faculty at a significantly reduced price.
Brous plans to kick off the fundraising initiatives in his hometown Ocean City with a dinner, showing part of the film and entertainment at Carousel Hotel on Sunday, Sept. 30. For additional information, contact Rose Brous at 410-289-7039.