The Big Show – Kentucky Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Hi! It’s Turtle and Moose again to talk about the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival’s Romeo and Juliet. This is one of the most well-known plays of Shakespeare and is very tragic. “Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.” Once of the most well-known openings in theatre and with it we learn that Romeo and Juliet will be a story of how two star-crossed lovers from rival families try to find a way to be together.

It starts with the Capulets and the Montagues fighting in the streets of Verona. This is one our favorite scenes because the action was very intense and even with the rain slowing the speed of the fight (for safety’s sake), it was still a thrill to watch. The Prince is angered and says that if there are any more fights between the families then they will be executed. Peter, played by Tony Milder, is a messenger for the Capulets and does not know how to read but he wants to know who he is supposed to invite to a grand party. He asks Romeo who happens to be on the street. Romeo, played by Crystian Wiltshire, is one of our favorite characters because he did everything in his power to see Juliet, played by Megan Massie, and was very intense both in love and in anger. Romeo is reading the list and finds the name Rosaline, with whom Romeo is desperately in love.

Romeo and his friends are not allowed at the party but they show up anyway in masks. Mercutio, played by Bryon Collie and one of Romeo’s friends, is another of our favorite characters because he is funny and sarcastic but is also very serious about his friends. Tybalt, played by Neill Robertson, Juliet’s cousin and a loyal Capulet, shows up and finds out Romeo’s true identity and is hot to avenge this injustice. He is stopped when he tells his uncle and his uncle tells him to leave Romeo alone. Romeo then meets Juliet while dancing and leaves with a heavy heart knowing that he could never be married with her. After the dance Juliet is looking out her window calling Romeo’s name and wishing he was not a Montague. Romeo, who climbed over the walls of the Capulet’s home, miraculously hears her. They talk and they decide to wed, in secret, the very next day.

After the wedding, Tybalt sees Romeo and tries to goad him into a fight but Romeo walks away and Mercutio ends up fighting Tybalt. Tybalt slays Mercutio and then Romeo slays Tybalt in revenge. Romeo is banished. Juliet takes a potion that makes it look like she is dead so she won’t have to marry Paris. Friar Lawrence will then reunite Romeo and Juliet. But the plan fails and Romeo thinks she is dead. Romeo rushes to her tomb with a poison and commits suicide in despair. When Juliet wakes up and finds out that Romeo actually is dead she commits suicide too. This is one of our favorite scenes because of the fight between Romeo and Paris, tragic because of the misunderstandings, and the ultimate tragedy that follows. The two families realize that their hate for each other has caused all of the deaths and make peace and live sadly ever after.

In the first half of the play, the costumes were of the traditional period style but in the second half, the dress because modern with jeans and suits and police in modern uniforms. We believe this is because modern rivalries have just as tragic outcomes as did the families of Verona, and perhaps we can learn from Shakespeare before it is too late.

This was an amazing play and we hope everyone goes to see it. Romeo and Juliet plays through next Tuesday, the 12th, and then all 3 Shakespeare shows will be in rotating rep. Don’t miss any of these shows!

Turtle and Moose

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