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Romeo and Juliet - Qualified Perceptions
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.
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mijven From: mijven Date: February 22nd, 2006 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)

Ross is teaching? Nifty! (Sorry, was link following.)

I have to admit, when you mentioned the tension I was a bit worried over the entire love plot stuff. Not that emotional angst isn't aggressive and writhing... just that it seems less worth it somehow if that's the only way to go.
dcltdw From: dcltdw Date: February 22nd, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fascinating. The reviews I've read so far were really harsh on this production.

firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: February 22nd, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I mostly agree with the Phoenix's review: http://thephoenix.com/Article.aspx?id=4498&page=1

I think it hit what it was aiming for dead-on, and as the Nth version I've seen, it was interestingly different but not ideal.

(But I have decidedly anti-mooning-about Shakespeare tastes. I liked the Ethan Hawke "Hamlet for People Who Don't Like Hamlet". :) )
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