Romeo and Juliet: A Parody

Written by Rachel Weisserman

Cast:

Narrator (preferably girl)

Shakespeare (wearing ruff and wig, etc.)

Juliet (dressed all fancy)

Romeo (also dressed fancy, with sword)

Kate (wears normal clothes)

Beth (wears normal clothes)

Peter (wears normal clothes)

Mac (wears normal clothes)

Narrator: (Walks onstage) Er, hello. (Grins, waves.) Um, this is the first play I've ever narrated, and heh, I'm kind of new at this. (Looks around, looks at feet, digs piece of folded paper out of pocket. Stares at the paper. Unfolds it. Turns it around.) Our play begins in 1950s New York, where two rival gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, have been feuding for—

(William Shakespeare rushes onstage.)

Shakespeare: No! No, no, NO!

Narrator: W-w-William Shakespeare? I thought you were dead!

Shakespeare: I was. But when some hack of a narrator is butchering up your most romantic and tragic play by confusing it with a Leonard Bernstein musical and you're spinning in your grave so fast you hit 300 rpm...(Takes deep breath.)...well, it tends to wake you up a bit.

Narrator: Oh. Well, I'm sorry.

Shakespeare: Oh, give me that. (Snatches paper from Narrator, holds it out at arm's length, reads it, then rips it up and drops it on the floor.) Allow me. (Shakespeare takes center stage as a spotlight focuses on him.) Our play begins in 1550s Verona, where two rival families, the Capulets and the Montagues, have been feuding for centuries.

(Shakespeare steps aside with a flourish. The Narrator lingers for a second, grinning and waving, until Shakespeare stomps back in and grabs them.)

Scene: People in party clothes. Half of them are staying on one side, the other half on the other side. There is a table with chips and a punchbowl in the center, and nobody is going to it.

Light focuses on Juliet and her friends, Katie and Beth.

Juliet: Prithee, this ball doth dull my senses and my wits.

Katie: What?

Beth: She said this dance is, like, totally boring.

Juliet: Mine eyes focus upon no lovely young male specimen with whom to associate.

Katie: Okay, what?

Beth: She says there aren't any cute boys here.

Katie: Yeah, and we can't even go over to the punchbowl because the stupid Montagues are hogging the drinks.

Juliet: Pardon?

Beth: Milady Katie doth say that she despairs for her parched throat, as she fears to sup from the punchbowl where those fearful Montagues doth congregate.

Juliet: Ah yes, Beth. Tis a dilemma. (Puts finger to chin, looks up at ceiling.) I have a solution! I shall hie myself to the punchbowl and undertake it upon myself to fetch refreshment for us three sisters.

Beth: Katie, she says she'll get punch for us.

Katie: Get pretzels too.

(Juliet sticks her chin up bravely and goes to the punchbowl and fiddles with the cups and ladle.)

Light focuses on Romeo and his friends, Mac and Peter.

Romeo: O, but the airs this band plays make my very ears weep.

Peter: Dude, what did you say?

Mac: He said the music sucks.

Peter: Oh. Yeah, it does.

Mac: Milord Peter says he doth concur.

Romeo: And these young women do not excite my fancy, for I fear I know all of them as well as I know myself.

Mac: He says—

Peter: I know what he said, Mac.

Mac: Then what did he say?

Peter: He said that he's been out with every one of these girls already.

Mac: (claps sarcastically) Very good.

Romeo: Ah! But what new beauty do I see taking her sup at the punchbowl?

(Single spotlight on Juliet. "Aaah" effect.)

Peter: Dang, she's hot.

Mac: Peter said—

Romeo: Never mind that, for the maiden of my dreams has stepped into real life. Excuse me while I pass the time of day with her. (Pushes past Mac and Peter.)

Shakespeare: Hold it!

(Everyone else freezes.)

Shakespeare: This isn't right! Why isn't everyone wearing corsets and waistcoats?

Narrator: Um, why should they?

Shakespeare: Because it's 1550s Verona. That's what they wore back then! Ask Mrs. Sparrow! She has a whole book of historical costumes.

Narrator: Oh, um, well, she wouldn't let me borrow it.

Shakespeare: Why not?

Narrator: Well, I, um...

Shakespeare: Out with it!

Narrator: I got pizza sauce on her favorite cape and she won't let me touch any of her stuff now.

Shakespeare: (Shakes head.) You klutz.

Katie: Hey! Bard! Can we get on with the play?

Shakespeare: (Grumbles.) Ungrateful thespians. (Raises voice.) Fine, fine, go on.

(Narrator and Shakespeare fade into the background. Light resumes on punchbowl area.)

Romeo: O my fair beauty, dost thou frequent this establishment often?

Juliet: (Looks up, gives Romeo a once-over.) Greetings, my good sir! Never have I seen thee here, though I take my entertainment at this place at least one night out of each week.

Romeo: This be my first time, for my compatriots hath convinced me to accompany them in hopes of assisting them in finding female companionship for the night. But I do think that I shall not alert them as to your presence, for I would fain keep thy visage in my own sight.

Juliet: So, what region dost thou hail from?

Romeo: I hail from this very city. And thou?

Juliet: Oh, the same!

Romeo: I have never seen thee before.

Juliet: Well, what other places dost thou frequent?

Romeo: My time is taken up mostly at the Montague Mall...

Shakespeare: THERE WEREN'T ANY MALLS IN SIXTEENTH-CENTURY VERONA!

Narrator: Shhh!

Juliet: The Montague Mall? But that means...

Romeo: What terror has taken thee, lady?

Juliet: We must not speak! I am a Capulet!

Romeo: But thou art the most lovely and sweet woman I have seen in my life.

(Kate and Beth come up behind Juliet, and Mac and Peter come up behind Romeo.)

Kate: What's taking so long?

Beth: What keeps thee, lady?

Juliet: (Turns around.) Oh! Thou startlest me.

Peter: Did you get her digits yet?

Mac: Did the lady speak to thee?

Romeo: Yes...she did...

Kate: So who's the guy?

Beth: Tell us the identity of thy new suitor.

Juliet: He is Romeo, and I love him, but alas, he is a Montague!

Peter: So what's wrong?

Mac: What keeps thee from the lady's love?

Romeo: I do love the lady Juliet, but woe is me, for she is a Capulet!

(Lights go dark, characters freeze, Narrator comes onstage.)

Narrator: Will Romeo and Juliet overcome their forbidden love? Will their friends accept each other? Wait until the next act and see!

Shakespeare: What do you mean, wait until the next act? It's not like there's an intermission.

Narrator: There isn't?

Shakespeare: No. There are just acts.

Narrator: But...but...if there's no intermission, when do we get our Pepsi and peanuts?

Shakespeare: First of all, you can't say Pepsi. This school has a contract with the Coca-Cola company. Second of all, nobody and I mean NOBODY is buying peanuts. People threw peanuts at the stage when I was alive and they're not doing it when I'm dead! (Turns to audience.) Ha, if you were in the Globe you'd be able to leave! But this is school! You're STUCK here!

Peter: Listen, can we get on with the play? I'm going to be late for basketball practice.

Shakespeare: Fine. Ahem. If you would, please, Narrator.

Narrator: Gosh, me really? You mean it?

Shakespeare: Just go.

Narrator: All right! Wow. Gee, um. This scene is set right outside of Juliet's house, and she's on a balcony and stuff...

(Lights up. Romeo is on one knee and Juliet is on a stepstool.)

Juliet: Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

Romeo: Hark, it is the east, and Juliet is the sun!

(A pause. Romeo and Juliet look uncomfortable.)

Narrator: And...?

Romeo: I, um, forgot my lines.

Narrator: (Slaps forehead.) We went over this in rehearsal!

Juliet: What rehearsal?

Narrator: (Frustrated.) Yesterday? The dress rehearsal? We all went over our lines and had pizza? Oh, forget it. Just wing it.

(Kate and Beth appear behind Juliet, and Mac and Peter behind Romeo.)

Kate: Oh my Gawd! It's those cute guys from the dance!

Beth: (Jumps up and down.) Hi guys!

(Peter and Mac wave and wink.)

Romeo: My friends! Do help me woo this lady!

Peter: Uh...sing to her. Chicks dig that stuff.

Mac: Entrance her with thy voice, my friend.

(Music: The Beatles "I Saw Her Standing There.")

Romeo: (Sings badly.) Well, she was just seventeen, you know what I mean, and the way she looked was way beyond compare...(Kate and Beth cringe and put their hands over their ears. The music stops.)

Romeo: O my lady, I do love thee!

Juliet: And I you!

(Pause.)

Kate: (Whispering loudly.) What are you waiting for? Get down there and kiss him!

Beth: Milady, why not show him a token of your esteem?

Kate: That's not what I said.

Beth: It's courtly love, remember? They can't kiss yet.

(Juliet digs in her pocket and drags out a Kleenex.)

Juliet: Fair Romeo, take this handkerchief as a token of my love! (Throws it to Romeo, who catches it and clasps it to his chest.)

Peter: Gross. She gave you a used Kleenex, dude.

Mac: Well, don't tell him that. He thinks it's a handkerchief.

Juliet: Come hither, Romeo, and let us pledge our troth...

(Romeo slowly trudges toward Juliet, pretending to climb. They hold hands and gaze into each others' eyes. This goes on for a few seconds. Kate and Beth and Mac and Peter fidget and pretend to look at their watches.)

Kate: Hey, what's taking so long?

Peter: Yeah, get it over with.

Kate: You're bored too?

Peter: Yeah, I thought he was just going to pick her up and we could go to the mall or something.

Beth: We do have to wait until they're done.

Mac: It's true love! You don't see that every day.

Kate: Well, I'm bored. (Crosses the stage, grabs Peter's arm.) Let's go get ice cream.

Peter: Okay. (They walk offstage.)

(Beth and Mac fidget more. Then they shrug and walk offstage with each other.)

(Romeo and Juliet are still staring into each other's eyes.)

Narrator: (Steps out in front of Romeo and Juliet.) Right! And that's the end of the scene!

Shakespeare: No it isn't. I wrote a whole speech for the balcony scene. It was one of the best things I've ever written!

Narrator: But the scene's done. It's over. Look, the lights are off.

Shakespeare: No they aren't.

Narrator: I said, THE LIGHTS ARE OFF! (Lights go out.)

Shakespeare: Well, if that's the way you want to play it...(Snaps fingers.) Scene: A blasted heath. Thunder and lightning, enter three witches.

Narrator: Even I know that's the wrong play.

Shakespeare: Fine. What's the next scene?

Narrator: (Digs paper out of pocket and reads it.) A rumble in the Bronx.

Shakespeare: You mean a duel in the streets of Verona.

Narrator: No, it says "A rumble in the Bronx." Here, look. (Points at paper. Shakespeare huddles in to read it.)

Shakespeare: Fine. But they have to use swords.

(Scene: Romeo jumping around with a sword, pretending to fight people.)

Romeo: Ha! Have at you, villain! You will never keep me from my fair Juliet! (Whack, swoosh, stab, etc. He does this for a few seconds.)

Shakespeare: Who's he fighting?

Narrator: The Capulets.

Shakespeare: Are they invisible or something?

Narrator: Um, we only have a cast of six people.

Shakespeare: That's pathetic.

Narrator: Well, at least three of them are girls!

Shakespeare: Right, and they can't act. In my day, everyone on the stage was a man!

Narrator: Yeah, yeah, and you had to walk six miles uphill both ways to get to the Globe. I've heard it all before.

Shakespeare: When's he going to be done?

Romeo: I shall not rest until every Capulet that stands in my way of marrying Juliet is dead! (Stab stabbity stab.) Okay, done. (Takes big, exaggerated bow.)

(Juliet runs onstage and hugs Romeo.)

Juliet: My fair Romeo! We must fly.

Romeo: To what purpose?

Juliet: My kinsmen have heard of our love, and they do not approve! They have sworn to hunt you down and kill you!

Romeo: Oh, that's no problem. They're all dead, see? (Gestures to the empty stage.)

Juliet: There is nothing there.

Romeo: No, see, there are the dead bodies of those who would oppose our love!

Juliet: No, there's nothing there.

Romeo: Yes there is. See, there's Tybalt, and there's Mercutio, and there's...um...Ralph.

Juliet: Who's Ralph?

Romeo: Your cousin.

Juliet: I don't have a cousin named Ralph.

Romeo: Um, well, we are now free to love each other! Let us pledge our troth!

Juliet: Alas, we cannot, for my father has sworn to marry me to another man!

Romeo: To who? I'll slay that villain!

Juliet: To...to...to...(Breaks down in tears.)

Romeo: Fear not, fair Juliet! We will think of a plan! (They hug dramatically.)

(Lights off.)

Narrator: An hour later, in Juliet's boudoir...

Shakespeare: Her what?

Narrator: Boudoir.

Shakespeare: That's French, isn't it?

Narrator: Yeah, so?

Shakespeare: Juliet is Italian. She doesn't have a boudoir. She has a...ravioli.

Narrator: Meat or cheese filled?

Shakespeare: Huh?

Narrator: A ravioli is a type of pasta, not a bedroom.

Shakespeare: Oh, now you tell me.

Narrator: Do you know anything about Italy at all?

Shakespeare: Um, no.

Narrator: Then why did you set your play in Italy?

Shakespeare: Um...

Narrator: Did you even write your plays at all?

Shakespeare: Hey, don't you get started on that. Everyone's accused me of not writing my own plays! Well, I did! And nobody, not Christopher Marlowe or the Earl de Vere or...or...or Kevin Bacon wrote them for me!

Narrator: Kevin Bacon?

Shakespeare: Well, someone Bacon, anyway. Or maybe sausage. Yum.

Narrator: Are you hungry?

Shakespeare: Well, I haven't eaten in four hundred years, so...yeah.

Narrator: Wanna go out for pizza after the play?

Shakespeare: It's a date!

Narrator: Okay! Now on to Juliet's bedroom.

(Scene: A bed and a couple chairs. Juliet is bouncing on the bed. Kate and Beth are sitting in the chairs. Beth is braiding Kate's hair.)

Juliet: And so I must not marry this man my father hath picked for me, but I must marry Romeo! How do I arrange this?

Kate: Easy. Go to Vegas and pay an Elvis impersonator twenty bucks to perform a ceremony.

Beth: They don't have Elvis impersonators in sixteen-century Verona.

Juliet: My friends, help me. What must I do?

Kate: Ooh, I know! You can pretend to kill yourself, and then when they put you in the morgue, you can get Romeo to come get out and then run away to Vegas.

Juliet: What?

Beth: You must take a sleeping drought, a potion so potent that twill make thy sleep like death. When thy family and kinsmen set thee in thy marble tomb, we shall find Romeo and take him to thee. When you awake, you happy couple shall find a priest who shall give thee holy vows and thus live in happiness forever!

Juliet: Oh! That makes sense. Kate, dost thou have a potion that shall send me to my slumber?

Kate: Well, I have some—

Narrator: Wait! That's drugs! You can't have drugs in school.

Kate: I was going to say that I have some aspirin.

Narrator: How's that going to send her to sleep?

Kate: Easy. (Snaps fingers.) Juliet, go to sleep.

(Juliet falls asleep and snores loudly.)

Kate: Then I throw the aspirin at her to make her stop snoring. (Throws pill at Juliet. Juliet snorts, twitches, and lies still.) Then we get some warm water and dangle her fingers in it. Hee hee hee.

Beth: That's very immature of you, Kate.

Kate: Well, you know me. I'm such a shrew.

Beth: So how do we get her to the morgue?

Kate: Um...I hadn't thought that far ahead.

Shakespeare: Easy! The magic of scenery. (Snaps fingers.)

(Curtains fall. There is some banging, muffled yelling, and the curtain puffs out so that it looks like someone is punching it or something. Curtains then rise.)

(Scene: The morgue. Juliet is lying on a folding table with a tag hanging from her toe. Kate and Beth are there.)

Beth: Romeo should be here any minute now. I gotta say, Kate, your plan worked wonderfully.

Kate: Thank you.

(Romeo rushes in, with Mac and Peter in tow.)

Romeo: Juliet! (Rushes to Juliet, lays his head on her head, cries.) O my love! Thou art dead!

Kate: No she's not.

Romeo: She is dead! Dead, dead, dead!

Kate: No she's not!

Romeo: Dead dead dead dead dead—

Kate: Beth, did you tell him that she was asleep?

Beth: (Slaps forehead.) I knew I forgot something.

Romeo: Now I must join my love in that eternal sleep! (Pulls out sword, sticks himself with it. Falls dramatically and dies. Juliet wakes up.)

Juliet: My friends, did the plan work?

(Mac, Peter, Beth, and Kate point to Romeo.)

Juliet: NOOOOOOO! (Jumps off the table and rushes to Romeo.) He is dead! Oh my love, he is dead! Oh that this had never happened! It's all my fault! WAAAAAH!

Beth: Okay, this is getting annoying. (Picks up Romeo's sword and whacks Juliet on the head with it. Juliet falls and dies.) There. Very romantic. (Tosses sword onto the bodies and rubs her hands together.)

Kate: Ew, you killed her. I'm getting out of here.

Peter: I'm coming with you. (They exit.)

Mac: Hey, you just killed her! Just like that!

Beth: No problem.

Mac: I like that in a woman. Want to help me kill a king?

Beth: Sure...but I have to get this bloodstain out of my shirt first. (Brushes at shirt.) Out, damn spot! (Mac and Beth walk offstage arm in arm.)

Shakespeare: And...exeunt omnes.

Narrator: Gesundheit.

Shakespeare: No, that means "exit all" in Latin.

Narrator: But they already exited. Anyway, why do you have to say it in Latin?

Shakespeare: Um...

Narrator: Never mind. (Takes center stage.) Okay, so that was the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, brought to you by a bunch of kids who failed Humanities. Bye! (Runs offstage with Shakespeare.)