Musical updating romeo juliet
“So I didn’t want people worrying why actor A was wearing a red hat in one scene and a blue one in another, and thinking to themselves ‘That’s an interesting theatrical convention…’ I wanted to play it straight and be as popular and as accessible as we could make it.” She said that for those who loved the gang elements of there was plenty of on-stage action in their version. Romeo may be a romantic, he may love poetry, but he is also a member of a street gang and is accepted as such, so he needs to be able to exist in both worlds.
“So we had to lose some words somewhere and, of course, in Shakespeare’s time his plays would have been performed in a multitude of different versions.“They were works in progress and shaped to meet the demands of the company on the day.We mustn’t forget that Shakespeare was a showman, not an academic.It also reflects the darker side of youth culture, with its gangs and testosterone-fuelled fight scenes.It’s not surprising that Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein chose Shakespeare’s greatest love story as the basis for their musical is a play where emotions run high – the yearning is heart-felt and the anger is righteous.“We wanted a show where there wasn’t a lot of hat-swapping; that one actor, by and large, plays one character all the way through, so people aren’t going: ‘Who’s he playing now?
’ There is some doubling up but that is done off stage and it is very clear that this is a different character.” She says that having a young cast means that the play has a lot of energy and bravado – a sense of swagger which should transmit itself over the footlights and engage with the audience.
if you want music and dancing, fighting in the street and crowds, you can’t get that out of nine actors.
To do everything we wanted to do we would need a budget for 23 actors, so wearing my community theatre hat, sought to recruit young musicians.
“There was part of me going ‘You can’t do that bit of comedy just after we’ve seen that tragic scene’, but Shakespeare does and he does it again and again – all the time.” Lynn said she has replaced some of the more obscure Shakespearean word-play moments with some physical comedy, as some of the humour which powered those scenes has been lost over the centuries.
“Those new sharp slapstick scenes tell the same story as those lengthy word-play sequences would have told.
It is this world of heightened emotions that Bury Theatre Royal director Lynn Whitehead is looking to preserve in her production of which opens next week.