We all know the story of Romeo and Juliet, but are we sure of the inspiration behind it? Maybe, maybe not, but it is fun to speculate now isn't it? Based on the playwright William Shakespeare, and his famous play, comes a fictional tale of what may have been the inspiration behind one of the greatest dramas of all time.
William Shakespeare is a poor playwright, employed by Philip Henslowe, owner of the Rose theater in London in the middle of the 1500's. There is always a struggle with the theater during this time period. Everything from lacking decent actors to finding enough sponsors, even fighting to keep the doors open in spite of the plague. After finally getting all of his ducks lined up, Henslowe has to deal with one last problem, his playwright's writer's block. Although married, Shakespeare tends to take on lovers that he utilizes as muses for his work, be it a comedy or a drama, the aide of a female presence always gets his creativity flowing.
After stumbling into a fancy party that he was not invited to, Shakespeare is immediately attracted to Viola de Lesseps, who is betrothed to another man, Lord Wessex, whom she does not love or want to marry. Viola is infatuated with the theater, and dreams of a love that is represented in the comedies and dramas she so well frequents, and all but knows by heart. In an effort to be a part of the theater she so loves, she disguises herself as a young man and tries out for the part of Romeo in Shakespeare's unwritten play. She earns the role, and Shakespeare's heart when he quickly discovers that she is in fact his star.
Soon enough the play begins to write itself as Shakespeare and Viola become Romeo and Juliet. Desperate young romance, a doomed future of being apart, and even some sword fights.
Viola and William's romance is knowingly temporary, as the days of her wedding become closer and closer. However, their affair is cut even shorter when after being tipped off, her true identity as Romeo is discovered. Because it was considered immoral and scandalous, as well as being illegal, for a woman to be on stage, the Rose is shut down. Viola puts on her wedding gown and is wed to the dreaded Lord Wessex and fears that she has lost William forever. She knows they cannot be together, but she also knows that she didn't want their love to end so abruptly.
After catching wind that Romeo and Juliet was to open in another theater, she runs. Full-on wedding gown, she barges into the theater and takes her seat to watch at last, the master piece that was created partially by her.
With no Romeo, William takes the stage in his place. Things turn for the worse when the young man who is destined to make Viola proud by performing as Juliet can no longer perform. Viola takes a stand and rushes backstage, ready to perform in the role she was truly meant to perform in. The role of Juliet, opposite of her Romeo and knowing that reality will set in when the curtain falls, that she will have to return to her dreaded husband. Yet, she will always remain immortal in her true role as Juliet.