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Explain how you would produce, on stage, the churchyard scene in which Romeo comes to the Capulet monument, Act V scene III lines 1- 180, lines 296- 310 end of play. So as to bring out the dramatic significance with particular emphasis on the mood and atmosphere which Shakespeare wishes to create for the audience. If I were the producer for this stage production I would firstly set the stage so that it promotes the feelings of “solemnity, dignity and reverence” to the audience. This will give them a taste of the atmosphere surrounding this scene.
This would also lead into the significant happenings in this scene, which are Romeo and Juliet dying, and the love and hatred, which ended their lives causing the tragic climax of the play. At the beginning of this scene I, the producer, would set out the stage so that there would be a dark curtain at the back of the stage to bring out the solemnity of the graveyard as it is night time. This curtain will not be raised throughout the play. There will also be a second curtain of a greyish colour which will be hung sideways on to the audience so that they can see both in the graveyard and into the front of the monument.
This second curtain will be hung not quite in the middle of the stage but more to the right of the stage when looking from the audiences’ point of view. On the part of the stage, which is representing the graveyard, there will be dim lights to give the effect of the graveyard and the monument part will be in blackness, as it has not been opened yet. Paris will then enter from the left of the stage accompanied by his page and a spotlight will fall on them, although the spotlight won’t be too bright until they put out their lamp when it will brighten.
The page will enter holding flowers, a torch and sweet water and then Paris will enter with a rapier in his belt. They will also be wearing costumes of the period. Paris and the page will walk across to the monument and stop a few feet from the monument, and here Paris will turn to the page and take from him the torch as he says, “Give me thy torch boy. ” Then he will flick his head towards the front left of the stage, from the audiences’ point of view, and say, “Hence and stand aloof,” and also telling him to keep his ear to the ground keeping guard and then to whistle if he hears anyone.
While doing so Paris will be putting out the torch and pointing his finger at the page while giving instructions. At the end Paris will take the flowers from the page and tell him to go, saying, “Give me those flowers. Do as I bid thee, go. ” The page will then go to the front left of the stage and lie there with his ear to the ground listening for any on comers, “holding thy ear close to the hollow ground. ” Paris will then turn to the monument and strew flowers around the tomb while talking and walking. The spotlight will follow him as the page is left in darkness.
A whistle will then sound from the page and he will stand as he does so. Paris will turn and talk soliloquy but in loud whisper so the audience can hear. He will then quietly run to where the page is stood and the spotlight will fade from him and appear on Romeo and Balthasar as they enter from the back left of the stage. A crunching sound effect will slowly amplify to give the effect of dry leaves under the feet of Romeo and Balthasar as they near the monument. Balthasar will enter carrying a torch, a mattock, and a crow of iron and Romeo a rapier and a dagger in his belt.
They will both be wearing clothes of the period. They will walk to the front of the monument where Romeo will put his hand out to Balthasar and ask for the mattock and the wrenching iron while looking at the monument door. He will say, “Give me that mattock and the wrenching-iron. ” Romeo will then pull out a letter from inside his robes and hands it to Balthasar while giving him instructions. Then after telling him to leave, Romeo will turn to face Balthasar making direct eye contact with him and tell him not to return to pry or he will kill him.
“If thou, jealous, dost turn to pry”, “I will tear thee joint by joint”. He will say this in a more threatening tone while clenching the wrenching iron in his left hand and pointing his index finger at Balthasars chest. At this point in the play Shakespeare is creating trepidation for the audience, about the uneasy state of Romeo. Now I would have Romeo turning back to the monument still holding the wrenching-iron, and Balthasar walking away to where they entered saying to himself, “I’ll hide me hereabout,” and have him crouch down where he and Romeo entered onto the stage, so that he could hide from Romeos view.
As he is walking away a second spotlight will follow him and fade away after he has said his bit, so the only spotlight on stage will be on Romeo. Then I would have Romeo pry open the sealed door with the wrenching-iron and make him look and sound like he is having to use every ounce of strength in him by gasping as he speaks, “Thou detestable maw,” “Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open,” and straining his face. I would also have creaking sound projected as if coming from the door to give the effect that it is indeed an old door and is reluctant to be opened.
As the door is opened a few lights will dimly light up the other side of the curtain, which represents the inside of the monument. Romeo will then slowly walk in to the monument and at this point a second spotlight will focus on Paris as he speaks and then the stands up, draws his rapier and shouts to Romeo who, at the sound of his shouts stops abruptly and quickly turns around to see Paris walking towards him with his rapier drawn.
To emphasise the surprise Romeo feels at seeing another person at the Capulet monument and the hatred Paris feels at not only seeing another person at the monument and breaking onto it but also to see that it is a Montague. I would have a high-pitched sound to show the surprise of each of the characters and have Paris talk with anger on his face in a spiteful, malicious tone towards Romeo. Although Romeos tone will be calm, solemn and tiresome. As Paris is trying to apprehend Romeo he will edge towards him, which creates tension for the audience.
Although, Romeo is trying to get rid of Paris as he is tired and just wants to die by Juliet, his true love, and not by Paris’ sword. He warns Paris that if he provokes him in his uneasy state then he doesn’t know what he will do as he says, “Put not another sin upon my head, By urging me to fury. ” “Wilt thou provoke me? ” To show this Romeo will make hand movements from himself to Paris trying to make him back away. This creates an anti-climax as Romeo won’t be stopped and the audience doesn’t want him to stop now, as he is too close to being re-united with Juliet to stop now.
But Paris will not desist and so Romeo will sigh and say, “Then have at thee boy”, draw his rapier and they will fight. This is visually dramatic as the fighting is savaged and focused. They will fight near the opening to the vault, moving from side to side of the stage and slightly out of the door and back in. A big spotlight will be following them across stage, and dramatic music will play as they fight. A second, smaller spotlight will appear for a moment as the page speaks after seeing them fight and stands then runs off stage to the left to find the watch taking with him the lamp.
Paris is slain at the entrance to the monument and both the rapiers are dropped as later in the play Friar Lawrence find their rapiers, “what blood is this which stains the stony entrance of this sepulchre” “gory swords”. Romeo then kneels down over Paris and listens to his last words, showing tenderness around him. Then will pull back suddenly with shock and gasps as he realises it is Paris, Juliet’s husband to be that he has slain, “Mercutio’s kinsman, noble County Paris” A reconciliation even in death is shown now as Romeo drags Paris under his arms to Juliet to lay him next to her as he asked.
At this point Romeo will drag Paris off to the right of the stage in the direction of Juliet and curtain separating the monument and graveyard is pulled, slowly to the left of the stage as Romeo is dragging Paris only leaving a small part of the stage, to the left, showing the graveyard outside the monument. The movement of the curtain at the same time as Romeo drags Paris gives the effect that Romeo is walking further into the monument. A slab will be wheeled on at the same time and this will have Juliet on top.
Romeo will be positioned next to the slab still holding Paris. The curtain covering the whole stage will then be lifted to reveal more of what is happening inside the monument. Once it is lifted lights will light up the monument, expelling the need for spotlights to give the effect of the radiance, which Romeo says Juliet projects, “Juliet is the sun. ” “eye discourses”, “The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,” . Juliet will be wearing clothes of the period.
Romeo will then lay Paris down by the side of the slab and walk around to the other side and lean over Juliet caressing her hair as he speaks to her as if she were still alive, not recognizing the signs of life which creates apprehension and tension for the audience as they know she is alive and now waking up as the drug is wearing off. Then just before he takes the poison he will lean right down over her embrace her and give her a kiss, “seal with a righteous kiss” Then he will stand up and take a small bottle containing the poison, which he has already mixed the powder in with liquid, from a pouch attached to his belt.
He will hold it up and look at it as he talks. Then he will drink the poison and after his last words collapse by the foot of the slab, hanging over the side. So at this point in the play there will be two rapiers at the front of the entrance, which will now be darkened. Paris will be lying on the floor at the side of the slab on which Juliet will be lying and Romeo will also be lying on but at Juliet’s feet and hanging off the edge. The slab will be positioned a little to the right of the stage. A dim spotlight will also be shadowing them.
At this point Friar Lawrence will enter onto the stage carrying a lantern, crow and spade, from the left of the stage onto the section of the graveyard, which is still showing. A spotlight will follow him. He will be wearing traditional church clothes of that period. Balthasar, who has been hiding in the corner of the stage, will stir and the rustling sound effect of leaves will be projected again. Friar Lawrence will hear this and Balthasar will slowly come out of the shadows and join the Friar in the spotlight.
Friar Lawrence will hold up his lantern to Balthasars’ face so that he can see who it is. As they talk about Romeo going into the monument the Friar will look to the monument when Balthasar says, “and there’s my master”, “Romeo” and then look back at Balthasar when he replies, “How long hath he been there? ” Then when Friar Lawrence requests Balthasar to accompany him into the monument he will begin to go towards the entrance of the monument but then stop abruptly and turn to face Balthasar when he says, “I dare not sir” and backs away slowly as he was told not to return for fear of being killed.
“if thou, jealous, dost return to pry”, “I will tear thee joint by joint” but he doesn’t know Romeo is dead. Now I would have the Friar walk cautiously to and into the monument as Balthasar is calling after him, pointing to the yew tree and saying about how Romeo slew another person. At this point Balthasar will fade off into the background and off stage. As friar Lawrence enters the monument he will look down to find the rapiers on the floor just inside the door. He will squat down and hold the lamp over them as he proceeds to say, “Alack, alack, what blood”.
Then stand again and walk to the slab seeing Paris on the floor and Romeo hanging over the bottom of the slab. Juliet will stir a little and the Friar will move towards her as she sits up and begins to speak. The rustling of the leaves sound will be lightly projected again, the Friar will turn his head in the direction of the door and then back to Juliet. He will try to urge her away with his hands explaining to her that Romeo and Paris are both dead and then pointing at them both. Firstly Paris then Romeo.
Friar Lawrence will then hurry out of the monument and off to the right of the stage. Juliet will look down at Romeo, see the bottle which held the poison, picks it up and when she says, “What’s here? ” She, as Romeo did, will hold up the bottle and talk to it as if it were a person. She will put the bottle down after she has said, “I will kiss thy lips;” and touch Romeos lips saying, “Thy lips are warm. ” The voice of the first watch will be heard coming from the left of the stage, “Lead, boy which way?
” Juliet will then draw Romeos dagger from his belt, speak, and then stab herself in the chest. She will fall back onto the slab still clutching Romeos dagger. The sudden death of Juliet will create pathos for the audience as a great loss of both Romeo and Juliet has now taken place and shows another two people who died from love and hate. I think it will also shock the audience, as they would not have expected it to happen as Shakespeare has kept them in suspense and anticipation throughout the last scene.
The lights will dim a little to evoke the feeling of loss and sadness to the audience. The first watch and Paris’ page will enter onto the stage from the left so that they are in the graveyard just outside the monument entrance. They will walk into the monument and the first watch will spot blood on the ground and point at it in the entrance when he tells the page, “The ground is bloody,” He will then send some of the watch away to arrest anyone who is found lurking in the graveyard and point off to the left of the stage as they exit in that direction.
As the rest walk on further into the monument they find Paris dead, then he will touch Juliet and find her warm, bleeding and newly dead, “warm, and newly dead,” Some of the other watches will leave off the left of the stage as the first watch waves his hand aimlessly towards the door to fetch the Prince, Capulets and Montague’s. Then over the next few minutes the watchmen will return with Balthasar, Friar Lawrence, Prince and attendants, Capulet and Lady Capulet and Montague.
The truth is revealed about Romeo and Juliet’s love, how Paris was just unfortunate to become caught up in the middle and how they sacrificed their lives to be together. Then at the very end the heads of the two houses realise that it was their rancour that killed their children and so they stop the feud and are reconciled. To show this they will shake hands with both hands while saying how they will announce their reconciliation, by erecting pure gold statues of the child of the opposite household to honour them.
The prince will then walk up to them both and stand between them and place both his hands over theirs as if to seal the friendship as he concludes the act and the play, summing up the ending as, “A glooming peace,” The reconciliation at the end of this play I think leaves the audience relieved as they know that some good had come out of Romeo and Juliet’s death and that they didn’t die in vain. Although it will also leave them feeling sad as they lost their lives due to their families feud.
I think Shakespeare wrote this play to show how naive and immature people could be; fighting over insignificant things and not realising how their actions affect others. In this play we see two members of two different households too stubborn and ignorant to see the love, which eventually, will both seal their friendship and ruin their families. I also think it showed that in some ways love does indeed conquer all.