ENTRY: MOKSHALI RAMAN
‘Shakespeare of Your Times – Creative Writing Competition’ at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya held on 06 February 2017
Act 1 Scene 1
INT. CAPULET MANSION, DAY
Three people, GENERAL CAPULET, LADY CAPULET and JULIET, sit at a table. They are dressed in extremely expensive, well-made clothes. GENERAL CAPULET is drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper, LADY CAPULET is knitting a bonnet and JULIET sits quietly on the side gazing out of a window wistfully. Their butler, FRANZ, enters with a note. He clears his throat and being to speak.
FRANZ: Sir, a telegram has been sent for you.
GENERAL CAPULET: Thank you Franz, just leave it here please.
JULIET: What is it father?
GENERAL CAPULET: Another telegram from the soon-to-be chancellor.
LADY CAPULET: What does he want?
GENERAL CAPULET: He has asked us to attend his New Years Party. He is a very kind man, Adolf.
JULIET: I thought that he was scorned for his awful attitude towards the Jewish community.
GENERAL CAPULET: (angrily) That was a minor setback and he did have a point about their idleness. Personally, I agree with his methods and therefore so do you! Do you understand?
JULIET: (timidly) Yes, father.
GENERAL CAPULET: Good girl. Now, unfortunately he has only invited your mother and myself and we cannot even think of not attending. Will you be alright spending New
Year’s by yourself?
JULIET: (looking ecstatic and shouting with joy) Yes! I’ll be fine! (realises how she was behaving and turns red with embarrassment) I mean, I shall be fine though I will miss you.
LADY CAPULET: (looking amused) Don’t worry, we shall not be gone long, just a few days. You can call over some of your friends if you like. Just don’t wreck the house.
GENERAL CAPULET: Come now darling, our little girl would never do anything wrong. (he smiles at JULIET proudly) We must hurry if we are to reach Berlin on time.
JULIET: I’ll help you pack
GENERAL CAPULET kisses JULIET’s cheek. They get up and exit stage left.
Act 1 Scene 2
INT. JULIET’S TOWER ROOM, NIGHT
JULIET scurries across her room, hastily getting dressed in slightly tattered clothes. She puts on a plain, hooded, brown cloak. She glances around the room as though she is afraid that some one is following her, puts on her hood and hurries off stage.
Act 1 Scene 3
EXT. VILLAGE SQUARE
As people enter the stage, it is lit up by the candles that they hold in their hands and use to
decorate the huts in the background. The ground is covered in snow and soft, cheerful music is being played. Some of the villagers are dancing, holding presents or carrying large dishes of delicious food. All the people are dressed in colourful but slightly worn clothes. Two young men, ROMEO and MERCUTIO, walk in carrying a large gift wrapped box.
ROMEO: I still don’t know why you insisted on buying this rocking horse for your brother. You two barely get along anyway…
MERCUTIO: He has wanted one since he learned to talk, but we could never afford it until now. Also, I would like to mend things between us so that I am able to look back and
actually have memories of his childhood, before it fades away. (he looks down and sighs)
ROMEO: (smiling at MERCUTIO’s words)That’s very philosophical for a man who doesn’t enjoy anything related to academics, but I’m glad that you are making an effort.
An elderly woman, holding a candle, passes them.
ROMEO: Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year ma’am!
WOMAN: Happy Hanukkah, my dear boy! Have a wonderful year ahead. Oh, aren’t the festivities wonderful this year!
ROMEO: They are indeed, ma’am.
She exits stage right. JULIET, with her hood still on, wanders around staring at the village as
though it is a palace.
JULIET: (slowly takes off her hood and whispers) Oh, how beautiful this is!
She takes a step back and accidentally bumps into ROMEO, subsequently knocking them over.
JULIET: (glaring at him) Watch where you’re going!
ROMEO is still dazed from the fall and struggles to say anything. MERCUTIO, who wasn’t thrown to the ground, struggles to control his laughter.
ROMEO: (regaining his senses) What do you mean “Watch where you’re going”? You just pushed me into the snow!
JULIET: (blushing furiously) I’m sorry.
MERCUTIO: It’s alright, he can’t hold a grudge against anyone. Plus it’s Hanukkah, so (extending a hand for JULIET to shake) forgive and forget right? (JULIET nods, looking thoroughly confused) Anyway, I need to go home to give my brother his present. (Turning to
ROMEO) Thank you helping me, Romeo. I’ll see you later at the square for the dances. Bye! (He exits)
JULIET: What is that Hanukkah thing he spoke about?
ROMEO: (incredulously) How do you not know what Hanukkah is?! Festival of Light and Miracles? Doesn’t that ring a bell?
JULIET: (ashamed) Not really…
ROMEO: (smiles knowingly) You’re not from around here, are you?
JULIET: (smiles back at him) What gave it away?
ROMEO: Well, I’ve seen everyone here and I’m sure that I would remember a face as charming as yours. I mean your eyes are even more beautiful than the stars; and no Jew doesn’t know about Hanukkah.
JULIET: (surprised) You’re a Jew?
ROMEO: (hesitantly) Yes…
JULIET: (her eyes fill with wonder and she tilts her head to one side) Oh!
ROMEO: (he looks at JULIET suspiciously) Anyways, as you don’t know what happens on
Hanukkah, would you like me to show you around?
JULIET: I would love it if you would show me around, but…
ROMEO: “But” what?
JULIET: (she smiles cheekily) I don’t even know your name!
ROMEO: (looks relieved) I’m Romeo, and you are?
ROMEO: Well Juliet, my dear lady, would you care to dance with me?
ROMEO bows clumsily and offers JULIET his hand
JULIET: (laughing) I would, kind sir!
She curtseys. They link arms and exit stage laughing.
The play begins in December 1932. It is set in Germany. It is just before the Third Reich comes into power and the prosecution of Jewish people begins.
Romeo is a poor Jewish boy who doesn’t believe that there will ever be a war as he feels that the world is a place full of beauty and joy. He doesn’t wish to be married until he finds his “true love” and is ridiculed by his friends and family because of it.
Juliet is a rich German General’s daughter. Her father, General Capulet, hates Jews and supports Hitler completely. Juliet doesn’t understand why the Jews are made to seem so evil and is terrified with the prospect of war. She knows that she belongs out in the real world, leading a life of adventure, but is too scared to break the protected bubble that she lives in.
They meet on the last night of Hanukkah, which is the Jewish festival of light and miracles. Juliet has run away from home as her parents have left without her for a New Year’s party in Berlin. She and Romeo instantly become acquainted after Romeo tells her, “Your eyes are even more beautiful than the stars”, and as the night she realises that she has fallen in love with the charismatic Jewish boy. They meet in secret several times and each time they narrowly escape being caught.
Unfortunately for the two lovers, Romeo’s cousin Mercutio gets into an argument with Tybalt, who is Juliet’s cousin. They have a battle in which Tybalt is killed by Mercutio. Mercutio, being a Jew, is hanged for his crimes against a Christian and Romeo’s family is forced to flee from the village in which they live. Romeo stays back and creates a fake identity for himself; He is called Kurt Lidenbrock and enlists in the German Army. At the same time Juliet decides to convert to Judaism, so that she may truly join Romeo and they can go to Switzerland. She is kicked out of her house by her own parents for this act of treachery. Having now switched sides, they are to be separated as the regiment that Romeo (Kurt) joins is to move to Cologne. Before he leaves, Romeo marries Juliet in secret.
Years later, after being wounded in battle, Romeo is stationed as a lieutenant at the Auschwitz Prison Camp. He is no longer the innocent boy who believed that there was good in the world. He often says sadly to his comrades, “It’s been so long since I last saw the stars…”
One day he is caught by the commandant trying to give food to a little Jewish girl at the camp. In order to prove his loyalty, Romeo must shoot one of the female prisoners. When the prisoner is brought before him, Romeo realises that she is his very own Juliet. Ignoring the angry and triumphant cries of “Fire!” he embraces her and just as the other soldiers raise their riffles to kill them, he whispers his last words, “I can see the stars again.”