The Play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ written by the famous playwright William Shakespeare, who lived in the Elizabethan era, the play was also a product of his tragedy period which consequently is the period in which he wrote many of his greatest plays. The play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to many was his greatest tragedy. The play was written in the year of 1594.
Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, He was born on 23rd of April 1564, and was the eldest child of John Shakespeare and Mary Arden whom in total had 8 children, it was rumoured that he died on his birthday in 1616, although this is not confirmed.
Shakespeare was and Elizabethan playwright whom had allegedly wrote in total 37 plays, although many argue on this matter so a definite total has not be decided. One may also acknowledge him as one of literature’s greatest influences of his time and present day.
In the Shakespearean era there was no form of entertainment electronically (TV). So in order for the play to be seen they were performed on stage to a wide audience range from peasants to the richer classes.
The Globe Theatre; also known as the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, was not only one of most famous playhouse’s of all time, but also the playhouse where Shakespeare performed many of his greatest plays. Globe Theatre, which was co-owned by William Shakespeare, had become almost as famous as the playwright himself. The stage lay in the centre of the cylinder shaped construction; the people who could afford the prices sat around the sides where as the peasants stood directly in front of the stage.
Romeo and Juliet are based on two lovers from two different and incompatible families, Montague’s and the Capulets, who hold an ancient grudge against one another. In order for the two unite, the lives of the two teenage lovers must perish.
“Two households, both alike in dignity… from ancient grudge break to new mutiny…”
The above quote is taken from the prologue, which is used to inform us about the families and their hatred for one another. The prologue then goes onto to describe Romeo and Juliet;
“A pair of star crossed lovers take their life; whose misadventure piteous overthrows Doth with their death bury their parents strife”
The quotes also tells us the tragic ending (death). The prologue is used to summarise the whole play into a paragraph, this is used to grasp the viewer’s attention.
The play begins by setting the scene and the dispute between the two families using the prologue; after which it then goes on to focus on how Romeo and Juliet come to meet for the first time; also using the deaths of Mercutio and Tybalt, Shakespeare manages to bring emotion and tension to the play. Then comes the dispute in the Capulet house over whom Juliet should marry, after this the play proceeds to a tragic ending in which the two lovers commit suicide to bring together their once disputing families.
My assignment is on Romeo and Juliet as a whole although I will focus the essay onto a specific scene; Act 3 Scene 5 this is the scene, which I will attempt to recreate by directing the scene to my specification.
There have been many attempts to recreate Romeo and Juliet; two that stand out from the rest, they are the Lurhman and Zepherelli versions. The Lurhman version takes a modern 20th century view of the play, where as the Zepherelli version being more precise and accurate in terms of directing the play.
The scene Act 3 Scene 5; is the point of the play where Juliet is told she is to marry Paris, on hearing this Juliet tries to argue back but to no avail on infuriating Lord Capulet even more. This scene conveys a lot of emotions towards the audience.
The Lurhman modernization of the play, sets the scene within in Juliet’s bedroom, each character conveys different emotions. In this style of directing Lord Capulet is portrayed as a more violent and irate character, as he is pictured to be violent towards all of the women in this scene. Juliet, is also more emotional in terms her facial expressions. I feel, that in the Lurhman version the facial and bodily expressions of Lady Capulet depict a much more colder atmosphere.
The Zepherelli version of the play, the scene is also created in Juliet’s bedroom. This specific style of directing portrays Lord Capulet, as a less physically abusive character, although his facial expressions emit a sense of anger. Juliet is depicted as a much more hysterical character. To me Lady Capulet is not as cold as she should have unlike the Lurhman version.
Just before Act 3 Scene 5; Romeo had spent his wedding night with Juliet; he has come to comfort her as he is to be banished from Verona. Also, the night before as Tybalt had killed Mercutio, an enraged Romeo murdered Tybalt, who was the cousin of Juliet. One can say that Juliet shows little remorse to the fact that she had spent a night with her cousin’s killer.
I think in this scene Lord Capulet’s emotions have ‘sky rocketed’ as the normally respectful Juliet is disobeying his demands. He becomes so violent and out of control that he physically abuses Juliet his only child, he also humiliates her verbally.
“Out, you green-sickness carrion! Out you baggage you tallow face!”
This is a quote taken which shows how Lord Capulet begins to shout and verbally abuse her. One cannot be entirely sure why Lord Capulet has had a sudden change of heart.
“She hath not seen the change of fourteen years”
Earlier on in the play Lord Capulet had spoke to Paris about his proposal for Juliet’s hand in marriage, and he had said that Juliet was to young to be married. One can conclude that Lord Capulets decision on Juliet’s marriage may have been provoked by the death of Tybalt.
Lady Capulet’s role although little, is vital as she conveys her emotions towards Juliet very well to conclude the scene leaving with a cold atmosphere.
“Talk to me not, for I’ll not speak a word do as thou wilt, for I have done with thee”
The ending of the scene shows how cold Lady Capulet can be and also depicts how she shows no remorse towards Juliet’s feeling despite being her mother.
One can say that in this scene Juliet is the most emotional character. Her emotions are conveyed very well through her body language and dialogue tone.
“Not proud you have thankful you have”
Here she tells her father, that she will not marry Paris, although she is thankful for the thought.
“God in heaven bless her! You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so”
The quote above is what the nurse shouts as she tries to release Juliet from the grasp of an irate Lord Capulet, but to no avail as she is pushed a side. After attempting to protect Juliet, once every one has left the room her views change.
“Romeo is banished … I think it is best you married with county”
This shows her telling Juliet to marry Paris, as it would be best for everyone, one can say that the nurse has this ‘change of heart’ as she may be fearing that her job is at stake and if Lord Capulet finds out that she had assisted Juliet in marrying the son of his sworn enemy Montague; what could be the consequence?
Now I intend to proceed onto the directing of Act 3 Scene 5. The term given for the setup and whatever goes into the picture frame is known as ‘mise en scï¿½ne’. I have decided that the entire scene will be directed in Juliet’s bedroom. The room will be very big in size and filled with a lot of furniture.
To begin the scene I will start off with high key (a lot of) lighting which will be focused on Romeo and Juliet; Romeo will be wearing a white shirt and blue trousers; where as Juliet will be wearing a pale red coloured gown. The lighting will help emphasise the two lovers relationship by making it seem as if they stand out from the rest of the world. During this period of the scene the camera will be on a crane at a high angle aimed directly at Romeo who will be holding Juliet in his arms for the last time.
At the point before Juliet begins to speak I will have the camera lowered back to normal height and have a mid shot of Juliet and Romeo. The midshot will be close enough to show the expressions on both Romeo and Juliet’s faces. The expression I will use on Juliet’s face will be a miserable look. This is because; she is upset at the fact that Romeo has been exiled from Verona, Juliet is also not sure is she will ever see her love again. The expression on Romeo’s face on the other hand will attempt to portray a reassuring look, which is trying to comfort Juliet. Through out this specific part of the scene Romeo will be holding Juliet in his arms preventing her from bursting into tears.
At the point in which the nurse enters the scene; wearing the traditional maids outfit;
I will have the camera go to a high angle very quickly; I hope this will create a tension within the room because of the quick movement. At the moment of the nurse’s entrance through the door, Juliet will spring to her feet. Seeing this Romeo decides it is time to leave; he will run to the window saying ‘fare well’; but will then stop and come to Juliet for one final kiss. When Juliet hears that her mother is coming, from the nurse’s mouth.
“Your Lady mother is coming to your chamber”
The camera will go into a close up of Juliet who will be using a confused expression; this is because I feel that Lady Capulet has never given the attention that a mother would usually give to a daughter.
Lady Capulet will enter the room dressed in a long pale dark blue dress this is in hope to emphasise how cold of a person Lady Capulet turns out to be. When Lady Capulet tells Juliet of the supposedly good news;
“Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn … The County Paris”
At this point the camera will zoom in on an ‘Extreme close up’ (ECU) which by now will be depicting a distraught appearance on her face.
Juliet will refuse her mother’s request;
“Here comes your father, tell him yourself’; and see how he will take it at your hands”
At the point just before Lord Capulet’s entrance the camera will be used at a high angle focused directly on Juliet who will be lying on her bed weeping. At this point I will also use low key (a little amount of light) lighting, the effect I intend to produce by this is loneliness as no one is available to comfort her after she has been told she is to marry Paris.
Then the camera will move towards the door where Lord Capulet will enter, At his entrance Lady Capulet who will tell him about Juliet’s refusal to marry and will greet him;
“Ay, sir, but she will have none. She gives you thanks”
The camera will now move into a close up (CU) of Lord Capulets face, I will have Lord Capulet put on an enraged facial expression. Lord Capulet will then become irate. Due to this anger he will be wearing a dark red bathrobe this is because red is usually used to symbolise anger in a colour form. After this part of the scene the camera will move onto Juliet who will still be crying. Then using sound effects I will produce loud footsteps as Lord Capulet moves closer to her. The footsteps effect is in order to create anxiety within the audience. As he moves closer he will be shouting at her, Juliet will get to her feet and wipe her eyes dry, then begin to speak.
“Not proud you have…”
This line is where Juliet thanks her father for his proposal, but she will not accept. Then after this line Lord Capulet will become more infuriated and walk towards Juliet. He will grab her shoulders and pull her closer to his face.
“How how, how how, chopt logic …”
After about two sentences he will swing Juliet to the floor. As he approaches Juliet he will continue to take out his anger and frustration on his surroundings he will knock over a lamp and then grasp Juliet. At this point Lady Capulet will come over and try to free Juliet but Lord Capulet will simply brush her aside. After this attempt, Juliet will fall to her knees. This will cause the camera to switch to Juliet’s point of view at a low angle. This is so that it puts the viewer in Juliet’s shoes, also this will display Lord Capulets anger clearly.
“Good father, I beseech you on my knees, Hear me with patience but to speak a word”
The above quotes is the point at which Juliet is begging her father to calm down and hear her side of the story with patience, even after hearing this plea from Juliet, Lord Capulet will not hold back his anger. So he will force her to her feet. Then he will begin to verbally assault her.
“Hang thee, young baggage …”
As he does this he will shake her back and forth. The camera will be used at a midshot of both Lord Capulet and Juliet as Lord Capulet expresses his emotions, the camera will circle the two actors, and this should create a tension.
Now the nurse enters to try and stop the struggle between Juliet and her father, but she will not succeed as in his constant rage he will push the nurse to the floor. After doing so he will then push Juliet to the floor and begin saying his final passage. Before he begins the camera will switch to Lord Capulets point of view, this will allow the audience to see how sad and upset Juliet is. After this Lord Capulet will storm out of the room, not looking back once. Then Juliet will look to her mother for comfort but Lady Capulet will turn her back on Juliet this is because she supports her violent husbands views and says;
“Talk to me not for not for I’ll not speak a word, do as thou wilt for I have done with thee”
This line is why I chose Lady Capulet’s dress to be blue as she is cold hearted towards Juliet. Then Lady Capulet will walk away and footstep sounds will be used to generate a colder atmosphere.
After this the nurse will approach Juliet and tells her what she believes is best for Juliet. The nurse feels that Paris would be Juliet’s best option, although I feel that in the bottom of her heart she feels that Romeo was the right choice. This clip will be done using a midshot. The nurse’s facial expressions will portray sorrow for Juliet.
“Speak’st thou from thy heart?”
The above quote is where Juliet questions the nurse’s advise as she feels let down by nurse. After the line above the camera will switch to a close up of the nurse, so that her facial expressions can be seen. Then the scene will come to an end, I will have the camera fade out.
To act out my production of Romeo and Juliet I will use the following actors:
Lord Capulet – Robert De Niro – Meet the Parents
Lady Capulet – Diane Venora – Romeo and Juliet (Lurhman)
Nurse – Whoopi Goldberg – Sister Act
Juliet – Kirsten Dunst – Spider Man
Romeo – Toby Maguire – Spider Man
I have chosen the above, as my casting choices simply because of their previous performance in Hollywood.
Robert De Niro – I have chosen to perform as Lord Capulet as he has played many fathering roles as well as many action based performances, this I feel is the mix required to play Lord Capulet as in the play he portrays a lot of violence as well as during the rest of the play plays a fathers role.
Diana Venora – the reason I have chose her as Lady Capulet, is due to her performance of Lady Montague, this time I feel she will be able to adapt easily to the role of Lady Capulet.
Whoopi Goldberg – due to the nurse’s slightly comical and motherly role I feel that Whoopi Goldberg would be able to act as the nurse perfectly, this is because of her role in sister act where she performed as nun.
Kirsten Dunst – she will be able to play the innocent role of Juliet as she has stared in many teen movies, given her experience in playing her part.
Toby Maguire – I have chosen him to play the role of Romeo as his age can be used to realistically perform as Romeo.
In conclusion to my assignment I feel that I have learnt many things such as; How to direct a scene and the terminology used in directing. Also I have learnt how to analyse a scene in more in-depth detail. Also I have learnt about dialogue used and the language of the play.
I can also conclude that the play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has a lot of contemporary relevance to modern day societies. The relevance is in terms of Love and Hate. These two themes are often used in many modern Hollywood film productions.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell a sweet”
I feel that this quote sums up the pointless grudge between the Montagues and the Capulets. The quote also links together the prejudice they had in their era and also some, which is still around today. The grudge has caused many unnecessary upsets within the city and also lives were lost. As I believe that whether you are Capulet or Montague you are human so you are equal.