As the director, my main aim for the production of Romeo and Juliet Act 3 scene 5 is to make the audience feel the drama, tragedy and power of the scene. My other aim is to make Act 3 scene 5 the scene that the audience will remember.
Throughout the scene I want the audience to understand how Juliet’s feelings change and the way in which she reacts to the situation. I want the audience to sympathise with Juliet and experience her changing emotions.
As director, I wish to achieve my aims by making this scene the most powerful and emotive of all. Juliet’s emotions and reactions need to be felt and empathised with by the audience. There are several different emotions that Juliet experiences and reacts to and these need to be shown as clearly as possible because they are key to this scene.
The Set and Stage.
To the right of the stage there will be a balcony from which Romeo will climb down.
Romeo and Juliet’s goodbyes also will take place here. To the left of the balcony there will be a double door that enters into Juliet’s bedchamber. Juliet’s bedchamber will be placed to the centre of the stage.
To the left of the stage, near to the front there will be some stairs; this is where Lady Capulet and Lord Capulet will enter.
Most of the scene will take place in Juliet’s bedchamber. Inside her bedchamber there will be a double bed towards the back/middle of the stage. The bed will be similar to that of a ‘Royal Bed’ with curtains and four bedposts which reach and connect to the ceiling. To the left side of Juliet’s bed there will be a chest of drawers and standing on it will be a lamp that’s dimly lit. To the right of Juliet’s bed there will be a bedside table and on this will stand a glass vase containing some red and white roses. On the ceiling, in front of Juliet’s bed there will be a chandelier that will only be dimly lit. On the balcony there will be light curtains that separate Juliet’s bedchamber from the balcony doors.
The scene will be set up in this way to emphasise the balcony and Juliet’s bedchamber, which are central to the scene and need to be realistic and typical of a rich family of the period.
A rope will need to hang from the balcony to enable Romeo to descend down when leaving Juliet and her bedchamber.
A double bed will also be needed, as this is where Romeo and Juliet will wake up in the morning. The bed, with suitable bedclothes, is also where Juliet will sit while she says her monologue and during the section of the scene where her father is angry. The bed will show that the room on stage is a bedchamber .The presence of a chest of drawers, a bedside table, a lamp, a vase of red and white roses, a chandelier and light curtains to the balcony will complete the effect.
The costumes that will be worn during this scene are:
Juliet: Juliet will be in her nightdress and dressing gown. This indicates that it is still morning and she has just arisen from bed.
Lady Capulet: Lady Capulet will be in a fashionable, smart pair of flared black trousers and a cream gypsy top, which flares out towards the end of the sleeves. Lady Capulet will be wearing many rings on her fingers and many bracelets on her wrists together with a number of heavy gold necklace chains to show that she likes to flaunt her wealth. Being dressed like this will show that she has been awake for a while or hasn’t gone to bed yet.
Lord Capulet: Lord Capulet will be wearing a conservative, black suit underneath which he will be wearing a white shirt with a black tie. This will show that he likes to take pride in how he looks and dresses but that he is traditional and has authority.
Nurse: The Nurse will be wearing her uniform, which consists of a white button up dress, black shoes, tights, an apron around her waist and a white nurses hat. This is Nurse’s usual outfit.
Romeo: Romeo will be wearing a pair of faded black trousers torn at the knee and a loose, unbuttoned white shirt. This will indicate he got dressed in a hurry and doesn’t take too much care in his appearance nor can he afford to.
The lovers parting: Juliet says goodbye.
In this part of the scene, Romeo and Juliet wake up after spending a romantic wedding night together. It is set in Juliet’s bedchamber and dawn is approaching. The balcony doors are open slightly and the light curtains are gently blowing in the soft breeze.
When Romeo and Juliet wake they are holding each. When they hear a bird singing, they start to argue about whether the bird is a Nightingale, which means that they can spend more time together or if the bird is a Lark, which means the couple have to part.
After arguing for a few minutes, Romeo manages to persuade Juliet that he has to go because if he stays and gets caught, he will be killed. Juliet is worried that if Romeo leaves her she might not ever see him alive again as she has a premonition about Romeo:
“Dead at the bottom of a tomb.”
This is significant and ironic because at the end of the play both Romeo and Juliet are found dead in the bottom of a tomb.
I want to show the audience that Romeo and Juliet are happy together but when separated they are unhappy. Juliet starts to weep as she becomes aware of the realization that Romeo could be gone forever:
“O think’st thou we shall ever meet again?”
The Nightingale symbolises night and the Lark symbolises the morning/day.
There once was a belief that Larks and Toads changed eyes. This explained why Toads’ eyes were thought to be more beautiful than those of a Lark. Juliet wishes that they had changed voices too because the harsh sound of the Toad is more suitable for Romeo and Juliet’s sad parting.
“Some say the Lark and loathed Toad changed eyes;
O now I would they had changed voices too.”
Nurse enters Juliet’s bedchamber. Romeo exits down the rope that hangs from the balcony. This part of the scene ends with Juliet whispering quickly to him, whilst glancing behind her because Nurse has just warned Juliet that her mother is coming.
They part with two words
The pace of this part of the scene is quite slow. This is because the lovers are parting, which neither of them want to do as they want to stay in each other’s company for as long possible. They therefore part very slowly.
For this part of the scene there will be a soft shaft of light coming from a gap in the light curtains on the balcony doors. This will provide a dim glow of romantic light for the lovers when they wake up. It was also show that day is only just arriving. The light on the actual balcony will be soft for the same reason.
For sound there will be the song of the Lark, over which Romeo and Juliet will argue. Then in the background, other birds will be heard singing softly.
Lady Capulet’s Proposal: Juliet is to marry Paris.
Lady Capulet enters Juliet’s bedchamber just as Juliet is saying goodbye to Romeo on the balcony and is obscured from her view by the balcony curtains. When Juliet re enters her bedchamber she closes the balcony doors and curtains. When Juliet talks to her mother, Lady Capulet mistakes Juliet’s tears for Romeo, as grief for Tybalt’s death. She says:
“…Wilt thou wash him from his grave with tears? And if thou couldst, thou couldst not make him live; therefore have done. Some grief shows much of love, but much of grief shows still want of wit.”
Lady Capulet will say this sentence in a harsh voice therefore showing that she does not approve of Juliet’s tearfulness. Her words are callous and Lady Capulet tells Juliet that she shouldn’t weep so much, not knowing that the tears aren’t for Tybalt, but for Romeo. In this scene I want Lady Capulet to be seen as self-centred and emotionally cold in not comforting her daughter.
Juliet’s responses only strengthen Lady Capulet’s mistaken belief that it is Tybalt for whom Juliet weeps. Lady Capulet’s reaction is to threaten vengeance upon Tybalt’s killer, Romeo, by promising to have him poisoned in Mantua.
When Lady Capulet tells Juliet that she is to become a joyful bride for Paris on Thursday, Juliet is horrified and refuses to accept it. When Lord Capulet enters, Lady Capulet automatically hands over the responsibility for reprimanding Juliet for her refusal to him. This part of the scene shows how Elizabethan families interacted; the children were taught to respect and obey their mother and father. The father was the head of the household and expected everybody to do as he told them without complaint.
During this part of the scene, the dialogue that helps the audience appreciate the drama between Lady Capulet and Juliet is when Lady Capulet comments on Juliet’s apparent tears for Tybalt and says:
“Wash him from his Grave with tears.”
This shows how callous Lady Capulet can be and that she ignores Juliet’s feelings effectively telling her to get her act together.
The responses that Juliet gives to her mother show the audience that she is playing with her words, for example in reference to Lady Capulet’s threat to poison Romeo, Juliet responds:
“To bear a poison, I would temper it.”
Lady Capulet thinks that by this, Juliet would make the poison stronger but the audience knows Juliet means that she would weaken the poison so that it wouldn’t hurt Romeo.
The pace during this part of the scene should be fairly quick. This will show the tension between Juliet and her mother. It however will not be as fast as the next part of the scene where the tensions rise further.
During the dialogue between mother and daughter, Lady Capulet has opened the balcony door curtains and the balcony doors, which Juliet closed upon her mother first entering the room. The chamber will still be dim because it is still early morning.
The birds will have stopped singing, which will add an eerie atmosphere, increasing the amount of tension, allowing the audience to concentrate on the dialogue and imply that the harsh words have scared the birds into silence. I will leave the light dim and not add any sound effects; this will indicate how much Lady Capulet has brought tension and coldness to the room.
Capulet’s Ultimatum to Juliet.
When Lord Capulet enters Juliet’s bedchamber he compares her to a tempest because she is still crying. He asks Lady Capulet if she has awarded Juliet with the happy news of Juliet’s marriage to Paris, to which Lady Capulet replies:
“Ay sir, but she will have none, she gives you thanks. I would the fool be married to her grave.”
Again this is more irony because at the end of the play, Romeo and Juliet end up married and dead in Juliet’s burial tomb. At first Lord Capulet does not believe that Juliet has refused the proposal and he wants to talk to Juliet face-to-face.
Lord Capulet asks Juliet whether it is true and she confirms in riddle that it is. Lord Capulet then flies into a rage. He is both angry and disappointed in Juliet because he expects her, as an only child, to respect her father’s wishes and to follow his orders without question. Refusing her father’s wishes shows how little respect Juliet has for her mother and father and how much she feels for Romeo. Lord Capulet insults Juliet and threatens to throw her out if she does not marry Paris next Thursday. He calls her a “minion” by which he means a spoilt brat and a “hilding” which is a useless person. As well as insulting Juliet, he says “Or I’ll drag thee on a hurdle thither” meaning that he will drag Juliet on a frame, which was used to drag prisoners to their execution.
During this part of the scene, Lord Capulet will be pacing up and down in front of the balcony doors while Juliet is sitting on the edge of her bed. Lord Capulet should use angry hand gestures and fist clenching to show his frustration and anger to the audience and his daughter. Juliet, when sitting on the edge of her bed, will be looking at the floor and when she speaks she will look up and look directly at Lord Capulet. Lady Capulet will be standing on the balcony looking outwards and listening to Lord Capulet’s words intently. The Nurse will be standing with her back to the door on the left side of the stage that leads to the stairs. She will be watching Lord Capulet with suspicion that he might hit Juliet and fear for her own position in the matter.
The pace of this part of the scene will be fast as the dialogue is highly charged especially on the part of Lord Capulet.
The lighting will be dark and gloomy with a little light in certain areas to emphasise the gloominess elsewhere. This will help create the atmosphere for the emotions and dialogue between the actors and hold the audience’s attention.
The only sound effect will be a roll of thunder each time after Lord Capulet shouts or insults Juliet to indicate the level of his anger.
There will also be some eerie and gloomy music quietly playing in the background. I think that the music best suited for this is the ‘Imperial March’ -from ‘Star-Wars’ each time Darth Vader enters a room. Obviously Lord Capulet will take the place of Darth Vader. It will be played relatively loud upon his entrance with the volume reducing to the background for the rest of this section of the scene and his exit.
The Nurse’s Betrayal of Juliet.
Lord Capulet leaves Juliet’s bedchamber closely followed by Lady Capulet who stands by her husband’s opinions. This shows she has not got a very good relationship with her daughter, especially if she can just wash her hands of the problem as quick as she does in this scene.
After arguing with her father and mother, Juliet tries to seek some comfort from Nurse. Nurse helped Romeo and Juliet get together but she now feels that because Romeo has left, Juliet should forget about him and accept the proposal to marry Paris as he maybe “the one” for Juliet. Juliet trusts Nurse to try and help her sort out her problems with Romeo, just like she did when Romeo and Juliet got wed in secret. Nurse’s change of heart is because she is scared of what Lord Capulet will say and do if he discovers that she helped Romeo and Juliet get married. It is this change in Nurse that is seen as betrayal by Juliet and is central to this part of the scene.
Juliet feels trapped, not only are her parents threatening her and Nurse betraying her but Juliet’s religion now also adds to her dilemma. She realises that only Romeo’s death will allow her to take a faithful and religious vow to marry Paris. Juliet says:
“My husband is on Earth, my faith in Heaven; how shall that faith return again to Earth, unless that husband send it me from Heaven by leaving Earth?”
Juliet’s character needs to be portrayed as feeling lonely because she has no one to seek comfort from and confide in. Nurse was the only person Juliet could turn to but now she has been betrayed and has nobody.
Nurse and Juliet end their friendship with the single word of
This usually means the end of a prayer but in this case it is an indication that their friendship has ended.
The scene has now calmed down a bit since Lord and Lady Capulet have left.
Juliet is still on her bed but is now lying on her back looking at the ceiling with her hands together on her stomach. Nurse comes and sits on the
edge of the bed so that she can talk softly to Juliet. Nurse speaks quietly, trying to comfort and persuade Juliet but despite knowing Juliet loves Romeo, she still tries to encourage Juliet to marry Paris.
Outside the wind is softly blowing and the curtains on the balcony door are gently moving in the breeze.
In this scene the lighting will be brighter now because it is later in the morning but Juliet’s bedchamber will still be dim due to the curtains blocking some of the light. This shows there is still a little tension in the scene, this time between Nurse and Juliet, as well creating an unhappy atmosphere. When Nurse leaves the scene, a spotlight will appear on Juliet to highlight to the audience that she is consulting with herself and no one else.
In the background there will be soft wind sound effects to show that Juliet feels very alone at this point in the scene.
Juliet sends Nurse away with the words:
“Go in, tell my lady I am gone, having displeased my father, to Lawrence’ cell, to make confession and to be absolved.”
She vows never to trust Nurse again and decides to go and seek some help from Friar Lawrence.
Juliet feels devastated that Nurse has betrayed her since she had supported Romeo and Juliet from the beginning by delivering messages and arranging their marriage. Now, all Juliet can feel is loneliness, betrayal and confusion over Romeo, Paris, Nurse and her parents.
When the Nurse leaves the scene, out of Nurse’s hearing Juliet calls her a
and asks herself whether it is worse to reject Nurse or have Nurse dispraise of Romeo:
“Is it more sin to wish me thus foresworn, or to dispraise my lord with that same tongue which she hath praised him with above, compare so many thousand times?”
In this section of the scene, Juliet is still lying on the bed but has rolled over and is now lying on her stomach looking after Nurse, clenching her fists in anger and confusion.
When Juliet says:
“Ancient Damnation! O most wicked fiend.”
I want Juliet to say it loud and forcefully because she is saying it with such contempt and despair.
There will be no sound affects during this section, except maybe a gasp of disbelief from Juliet. When Nurse leaves the scene, I would like her to slam the chamber door and make Juliet jump a little. Apart from Juliet’s voice and gasp and the door banging there will be no other sound effects. The curtains on the balcony doors will stop moving and the birds will still not be singing outside. Just total silence for Juliet.
At the end of this section the whole chamber will be pitch black, apart from the single spotlight, which is on Juliet at all times.