The Perse School

Romeo and Juliet

23 Mar 2012

Form 9L recently got the afternoon off school to see a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Arts Theatre in Cambridge. We had been studying the play and had seen two film versions, to show the adaptability of Shakespeare’s writing. The live play also gave us more ideas for our essay on the subject, as well as showing another interpretation of the script.

So, having had lunch, we left school and walked into the centre of town, arriving in time for the performance which started at 2:30. Judging by the set (our first impression of the set was a big screen above the stage), we assumed that the play was set in the present. The clock displayed on the screen was counting down to the start of the play, set on a Sunday afternoon at 5:00. It served very well to convey the short space of time in which events occur; just a little over five days. Apart from this there was very little scenery; the play relied more on little touches such as lighting or a bed, to provide the surroundings. The screen (which could be made transparent) was used, not only as a clock, but as a large television screen for the narrator and Prince (whose parts were conducted like a press conference filmed by camera crews) or simply as a smaller, upper stage to present events which were happening concurrently.

The production also used “rewinding” to change the course of the story through small incidents, such as spilling a drink, which changed what subsequently happened. The clock was also used in this effect, while the actors retraced their steps without sound, like a film rewinding.

Overall the production placed huge emphasis on time. Often there were two different scenes running parallel to each other, done through clever use of freezing and the small number of props onstage.

In conclusion we all enjoyed the production a lot and were pleased both by the afternoon off school and the great way we spent the time off.

Written by Tom Fane, 9L

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