Coriolanus bringing out the boy to end the play last night is certainly not the first example of a director taking some license with the ending. Does Romeo die knowing that Juliet is alive? Baz Luhrman thinks so. And then there’s that old example that I always forget to attribute properly where Fortinbras, “Go, bid the soldiers shoot” is actually a command to execute Horatio, the last survivor. And speaking of Coriolanus, plenty of people were upset at just how differently the movie ended compared to the play. (Related, I actually saw a neat Hamlet once where the ghost of Polonius came to walk the ghost of Ophelia offstage. Great way to get the actress’ dead body offstage. But we’re talking about endings here, and not middles.)
So here’s my question – what productions have you seen (stage or screen) where the director kept to the script, but decided to throw in a twist you weren’t expecting? Of course, “kept to the script” is subject to interpretation since the whole play is already edited to the director’s vision. In general, though, I’m talking about visual and action that happens in between the text. Whether Romeo knows is based entirely on whether Juliet opens her eyes, and he sees it. Stuff like that.