Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Modern Translations Part 1 Juliet Hidden in the Night classroom lesson plan

A good activity for older students is to have them translate monologues from older plays like Shakespeare and Greek plays in to modern characters.

In this first modern version of Juliet's monologue, compare it to the old version. Here is "Hidden in the Night" by D. M. Larson


What are you doing here? I am supposed to be in bed asleep. No, you can't join me. (Her anger and surprise changes to worry) But don't go. Hide over there. But not too far away. (She looks around) Can you still hear me? Shhh... I don't want them to hear your voice... But I want you to listen. (She becomes sweet and shy) I want to tell you something. I know you can't see my face. The night hides me from you. But when you get closer I can feel myself blushing. (She gets excited) It's because of those things you say to me... (Then she catches herself and scolds him) You shouldn't say them... (Then saddens) But I want to hear more... I want so badly to hear your sweet words again. (Worried) Is it wrong for me to want that? Is it wrong for me to think what I thinking about you? (More determined) I want more than words... More than compliments. I want to hear THE words... The words that mean more than all the rest. (long pause) Tell me you love me... I know you feel it but I want to hear the words... (She closes her eyes and says sweetly) I love you... (long pause; she opens her eyes and is stern) But if you say it and it's a lie... (Sad) I don't think I could survive such a lie. (pause) Lovers lie don't they... Would you lie to get a kiss from me? (pleads) I only want to hear the truth... Please. Don't tell me lies. Say you love me! (She looks around to see if anyone heard her; long pause; she looks at him nervously) I hope I don't seem easy. You think I sound too desperate? (smiles and laughs a little) I sound a bit silly like some school girl... it's because I am so crazy about you. (pause; more serious) I won't lie to you... I love you. It is true love I feel. (pause; nervous) Maybe I should have lied... I should hidden my love from you. My love should stayed hidden in the night, never to see the light of day. (She is startled by a sound) Someone is coming... Please go away... They can't see you here... no one can... Hurry... (She watches him go; sadly) I will send you a kiss good-bye. (She blows him a kiss) FIN

Now compare it to the original by William Shakespeare:


Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face, Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny What I have spoke: but farewell compliment! Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say 'Ay,' And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear'st, Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries Then say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo, If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully: Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won, I'll frown and be perverse an say thee nay, So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world. In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond, And therefore thou mayst think my 'havior light: But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true Than those that have more cunning to be strange. I should have been more strange, I must confess, But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware, My true love's passion: therefore pardon me, And not impute this yielding to light love, Which the dark night hath so discovered.

Questions for students:

Which version did you like better? Why?

What is the character like in the modern version?

Is the character different or the same as the original version?

Select a line from each monologue that mean the same thing but are worded differently.

Does the new version capture the meaning of the original?

How did the modern version help you understand the original version?

Why might an older piece of writing like Shakespeare still be meaningful today?

Feel free to post your answers to these questions below and discuss!

Find more monologues at http://www.freedrama.net/small1.html

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