Director’s Note: Romeo and Juliet

‘Who ever thought Shakespeare and Mad Max would go together?’

Who ever thought Shakespeare and Mad Max would go together?

Romeo & Juliet is the Bard’s most famous play, and is performed over and over worldwide. The classic tale of tragic lovers pulled apart by fate and their warring families is often portrayed in the traditional doublet and hose, but what made PTC take the chance on my version that involves chains, biker helmets and baseball bats?

Yes, it has become a bit of a joke that I err towards the dark and post-apocalyptic, but after reading Shakespeare’s text I always had a problem with the lovers’ untimely end. Why would two young people who have only just met take their lives at the thought of not having one another? After a chance encounter with the new Mad Max film, the world that Romeo & Juliet live in must be so bad that their brief but beautiful relationship was the only good thing that ever happened to them.

With this in mind, our production revolves around the War Lord figure of Prince who has commodified the Capulet women, ‘protecting’ them from the outlander Montagues. Throw in the radioactive wasteland of Mantua (where Romeo is banished) and the inevitable abuse from Paris (Juliet’s ‘betrothed’) and the classic story has found another meaning in this new Verona compared to its 16th century counterpart.

This production also tries to expand on the quickest wedding and widowing in literature. Through the use of contemporary movement, the lovers short ‘meet, wed, love, die’ is more comprehensive and their ‘dance’ expresses more than words between the two. Thanks to our choreographer, Carrie Gaunt, for creating this (along with other) stunning pieces.

So why should you come see this production?

Thanks to Jemima Bunbury’s spectacular efforts with costumes, Emily Robinson’s stunning make-up, Joshua Chong’s psychedelic lighting design and Julia Ryng’s incredible attention to detail in set, this show is a feast for the eyes and you’ll be taken on a journey through the ‘dirty electro’ music emphasising the production. Step away from the books and have an alternative revision break.

The cast have all taken up the crazy world I have created with such passion and dedication. They have all understood the ‘new Verona’ and embraced the vision to create exceptional versions of their individual characters – I also think they’re enjoying the face paint and dressing up too much.

This is not your traditional Shakespeare. Forget your wall-flower Juliet and old school portrayals – expect female Capulet and Tybalt (feisty women who are fighting back) and a repressed Mercutio (trapped by the situation he is in). Expect dirty fighting, uncomfortable interactions and lots and lots of leather.

 

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