February 21st, 2006


Romeo and Juliet

Sunday was Romeo and Juliet at the ART. As always, lighting and staging was very impressive, and as always, there was writhing on the floor. If one had a slider of possible interpretations of the play, ranging from "tenderness" on one side to "tension" on the other, this was definitely pegged all the way at "tension." The very horizontal stage (between two sets of risers of audience) with a sand floor made for a very physical expression of tension - people stalking back and forth, barrages of light to walk into and out of. All very impressive. And for most of it, it worked very well. The characters drove the action rather than mooned about in reaction to events.

There were particular bits, though, that would have worked better for me closer to "tenderness". Romeo finding Juliet's body, I would have liked to see more sadness, pain, lostness - less anger. The actress for Juliet captured the impetuousness of a fourteen-year-old in love, though was possibly a bit more self-assured than I imagined her. The actor for Romeo, on the other hand, reminded me a lot of maverickseraph. So the tension factor was increased markedly by the feeling that at any moment, Romeo might say "Screw this, let's go kill the Capulets. And the prince, while we're at it. Then Verona is ours."

In all ways, the opposite of the "exercise in ennui" that was the Three Sisters. The ART can come out of the doghouse now.