Firstly, I must tell you that I haven’t been either reading Shakespeare to the girls or taking them to plays or even showing them the very lovely film version with Leonardo Di Caprio. In fact, we’ve never discussed Romeo and Juliet (or any other Shakespeare play for that matter) ever.
On the way to pick the Big One up from school the other afternoon, the Little One asked me whether I remembered the film we watched when we ate M&Ms.
Hmm. We watched a lot of films when we first arrived in Houston, due to the rain and grumpy children (and grumpy me too!) but we haven’t watched many recently. The M&Ms were a clue though as I remembered when the girls tried them. The Little One gave me another clue: “The one with the lawnmowers Mummy”. Ok. That makes it Gnomeo and Juliet then. Phew – it could have been a long conversation where the Little One got increasingly annoyed with my inability to guess the film…
“So why did the mummies and daddies not like each other?”
A good question. But how did the Little One remember that specific part of the film? Or any of the detail for that matter. Maybe she’s going to be a film critic!
That’s when we started talking about the story of Romeo and Juliet. Explaining some of the story took a little bit of thought (and we only had 5 minutes before we would be at school). The Little One asked some very intelligent questions regarding the silliness of fighting and why the grown ups couldn’t be friends, particularly the Mummies who should have known better apparently!
But my favourite comment was this one: “But why couldn’t the girl and boy just be friends secretly when no one was looking? And killing themselves was very silly.”
A very good point. But perhaps that would have made the story too short and far too simple for Shakespeare!