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Romeo and Juliet is a romantic play based on two people’s desire to spend their lives together, but it doesn’t exactly turn out exactly as they would have liked. The Black Cat Company showed this William Shakespeare production to us on Friday the 20th of October. This play is nearly split in half at the beginning, there are two groups of people both completely different, The Capulet’s and The Montague’s. Romeo a good-looking working class young man is a Montague and always will be, he falls for a beautiful women Juliet and everything is fine until he finds out that she is a Capulet.
After sneaking around Romeo is banished from the city of Verona for killing Tybalt a Capulet. Whilst Juliet is forced to marry a gentleman (by her parents) she does not want to go through with it. She then gets her hands on a potion that made her sleep for 48 hours. Her parents find her the next morning and think she passed away in the night. Romeo hears his beloved Juliet is dead and buys very strong poison; he goes to where Juliet’s body is and drinks it.
Juliet wakes up and after seeing Romeo’s body she kills herself. The set they used was very simple, set out on stage left was a table with a flowery cloth on it, in the centre of the stage was a black box making it look quite simple and old fashioned, this had a sword in it, at the back was obviously a backdrop, where the actors changed and also was a music player. The music was very carefully chosen and really set a goof atmosphere, the costumes made it very obvious of the time this played would have taken place.
The lighting was very basic; there were no special lighting effects at all. The characters really made an effort to involve the audience, their diction was also very clear. The narrator spoke very well and told the story very interestingly. Tybalt made it very clear that he was a ‘baddy’ his anger came across well and also had very good stage presence. Benvolio had very good facial expressions and all around body movement, interesting to watch when he was on stage.
Romeo was on stage nearly at all times he was a good actor that moved well across the stage, the tension between him and Juliet came across very well, he showed clearly that Romeo was a Montague by making clear hand jesters and generally acting like a down to earth working class young man. Juliet’s speech was in general quite good, but at some points I found it hard to understand her because she spoke very fast and ended up loosing her cotenants. Her use of props was very good and I think she improved her stage presence as the play progressed.
Her best part was by far keeping incredibly still on the table while she was meant to be dead, it must have taken a lot of rehearsal. Mercutio was personally my favourite actor he had a very good pronunciation of Shakespere’s English and seemed to pick it up very well. His reactions were also very clear and very interesting to watch. The nurse was more of a comedy actress, she did it very well to begin with and was very entertaining but towards the end, she went a little bit over the top. She involved the audience a lot and made a lot of the younger children laugh.
This was all due to her body movements, she acted the elderly women very well and made it very obvious after one step on stage everyone could tell that she was playing an old woman. Her facial expressions were also something to remember. All of the actors and actress’s worked well together and if someone forgot their lines they would each no exactly what to do. The moods change quite frequently in a play like this as it can go from happy and romantic to death or tragedy, the music really helped us realise what was going on.
This story can also come across as very complicated, but as the actors new they were performing to a young audience so they deliberately targeted that aged group; they did it well so that they would find it easy to follow the story line and understand it. Even if the children didn’t quite understand the language they could still tell what was going on because of the acting, the way they looked at each other and acted towards each other. The other thing that I happened to notice was the way the audience reacted to certain scenes, they whistled in the romantic scenes and gasped in the fighting scenes, which is a clear compliment to the actors.
In comparison to other plays I have scene this one was good although with the right equipment and lighting and effects it could have been a lot better, but unfortunately they just didn’t have the time to plan all of that. Other plays that I have seen are very different ones to this I have seen mostly musicals. An important scene in this production was the opening scene, it was an all round good scene, it was clear about what was happening, it made it very obvious about who was Montague and who was Capulet it gave the production a kick start as they caught the attention to the audience.
Another important scene was the big fight scene, with all of the actors present when Mercutio was murdered; it was set out well, which was also easy to understand. My favourite scene by far has to be the last one, where tragedy hits, Juliet is ‘dead’ on a table and Romeo comes in bursting with tears looking at his beautiful lover and just torn apart at the fact that he has lost her, he then kills himself but right at the moment when he is in so much pain he cannot speak a word Juliet wakes up and sees him there struggling to breathe and the look they exchange is just incredible.
The atmosphere that is created in not easy to sit through but it is still brilliant and the audiences reaction to what had happened was what they were hoping for I’m sure. It was very effective. I enjoyed this play very much and it was just a shame that I couldn’t give it my full attention, as I had to write notes in the process. Four people, two women and two men, and the fact they had no interesting lighting or effects they did exceptionally well to put this play together.
They certainly targeted the audience well and also at the end they let the audience ask questions about their background and also asked for a couple of volunteers and showed them how to ‘stage fight’. I thought this was a very good thing to include as it doesn’t just mean that we just watch a play and that’s the end of it, we also got to learn about it and pick up a few good tips on how to act well. I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon.