Better than CliffsNotes: An Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar
David Andalora has taken on an impressive task: making the works of Shakespeare accessible to students (and older folks) who get lost in the expressive but difficult to fathom words of the Bard. In adapting Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar and Macbeth, Andalora updated the language so that it is not a barrier to understanding the action.
My familiarity with (and love for) Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth prompted me to investigate An Adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, an interpretation of a work I haven’t picked up since it was forced on me as a high school freshman, when the words got in the way. Actually, Julius Caesar is responsible for me getting the lowest grade I’d ever gotten in English—in the same way that your parents are responsible for everything that’s wrong in your life.
One of the great pleasures in reading Shakespeare’s plays and poetry is found in the language. There is beauty even in passages in which one character is insulting another. The problem is…a lot of the people who must read Shakespeare as an assignment have no interest in the language or do not have the time to develop an appreciation of it because they have a deadline. My solution, at age 13, was to read the first act, the last act, and pray—it didn’t work.
David Andalora, in his adaptations, has removed the language barrier (I hear the purists gasping), and tells the stories in a way that time-restricted and disinterested students can understand. He captures the spirit and the intent of the words, but translates the beauty out of them for those of us who are literarily impaired (especially appropriate for those of us with ADD).
To appreciate what Andalora has accomplished, compare the original Act II Scene I of Julius Caesar with the adaptation:Continued on the next page