The play Romeo and Juliet was written by a famous play write called William Shakespeare (1564-1616). He wrote many plays including MacBeth, Twelfth Night, As You Like It but Romeo and Juliet is one of his most popular tragedies. This is a play about two people in love brought together by hatred.
The way William Shakespeare’s plays were performed is unusual to today’s standard but very usual in the 16th century. Young boys not women performed the parts of women in these plays. Women were not allowed to act on stage. Shakespeare’s plays were performed at the Globe Theatre or the Black Fairs Theatre. Some times though they would get a special presentation at the courts of Queen Elizabeth 1st and King James 1st.
The Montague’s and Capulets are two rivalry families. They are involved in a family feud that goes back years before any of the members were born. Yet the feud still continues due to the fact that neither family is ready to forgive and forget the past. Even the townspeople are involved because the families do not keep the feud in the privacy of their own home but have been seen fighting in the public streets and displaying violence. They disrupt the peace of Verona and even Prince Escalus personally had to break up a fight, where the family members were heavily fined. They were also given a warning that another public fight could result in death. While this is occurring Romeo, the main character, is getting over his last love, Rosaline, and was very upset. Juliet of the Capulet household has just been introduced to a wealthy young man, Paris, who her parents wish her to marry.
Yet she does not love him. During this Romeo, who is in love with Rosaline, goes to a party in an effort to forget her or to rebuild his broken heart. At this party he meets Juliet, and immediately falls in love with her. He later finds out that she is a Capulet, the rival family of the Montague’s. He decides that he loves her anyway and they confess their love for each other during the very famous “balcony scene” in which they agree to secretly marry the next day. Friar Lawrence agrees to marry them in an effort to end the feuding between the families. Unfortunately, the fighting gets worse and Mercutio, a good friend of Romeo’s, ends up in a fight with Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin. Tybalt kills Mercutio, which causes Romeo to kill Tybalt in an angry rage. For this, Romeo is banished from Verona.
At the same time, the Capulet’s are planning Juliet’s marriage to Paris. Juliet does not want to marry this man so she arranges with Friar Lawrence to fake her own death with a sleeping potion that will make everyone think that she is dead. Friar Lawrence promises to send word to Romeo to meet her when the potion wears off and to rescue her to Mantua, where Romeo is currently staying. There they would live happily ever after. Unfortunately, Romeo does not receive this message on time and upon hearing of her “death” goes to Juliet’s tomb where he drinks poison and dies. When Juliet’s potion wears off, she awakens to find her lover’s body. She then stabs herself with Romeo’s dagger. The two families find the bodies and their shared sorrow; finally make peace with each other.
In act 3 scene 5 Juliet has just said goodbye to Romeo who had stayed the night (they made love) before her mother (lady cap) catches him. Juliet is happy until her mother drops the news about her forth-coming marriage to Paris. Once her mother tells her this, she tells her mother what she thinks. Juliet says no to her mother
“He shall not make me a joyful bride”
This shows that she says if he married her it would not make her happy just sad and angry. Her mother thinks she is upset because of the death of her cousin Tybalt plus Juliet is already married to Romeo.
Maybe Lady Capulet feels let down by Juliet, as they have already told Paris the answer will be a yes.
Lord Capulet in this scene is quite different he is a lot angrier and is violet (In this time though arranged marriages were common).
“I tell thee what: get thee to church a, or never look me in the face”.
Juliet reacts to this by just crying. When the nurse tries to stick up for Juliet lord Capulet
“Hold your tongue”
This just means shut up and tells her to go. He obviously means he will have nothing more to do with her if she doesn’t marry Paris.
The nurse in this scene is a bit unsure what to do, she can either help Juliet. She chooses to help Juliet but really gets told by Lord Capulet to disappear and stay out.
In the Zephereilli version at the start of the play it starts with a brawl but uses swords instead of guns in the Luhrman version. It still shows you the hate between the two families right at the start.
The prince of Vernona rides in on horse back compared to luhrman’s modern version of him travelling in a car instead of horse back in Zephereilli.
In the two films the language is slightly different. The old version is perfect to the language that would have been used and the modern one; sticks to the original scrip, but some of the speeches and sentences have been shorted.
If I was directing Act 3 scene 5 the actors I would use is:
Romeo: Prince William because he is a good-looking guy girls love him and is the right age for the part.
Juliet: Kelly Brook because she is beautiful an actress and is again the right age for the part.
Lord and Lady Montague: Richard and Judy (from channel 4) because they’re already married know how to present and a bit snobby.
Lord and Lady Capulet: James Gandolfini and Lorraine Bracco because they are marred on screen and I think they would suit the part perfectly.
Nurse: Judy Dench because she is a brilliant actress and looks and has played part of a mother figure before.
The way I would set out the screen is not to have the argument in Juliet’s bedroom but over the dinner table at breakfast time. I think having it at the dinner table it would be more effective, it could show people anger more e.g. throw plates and chairs around.
At the dinner table I would place lord and lady Capulet at each end of the table and Juliet and the nurse in the middle.
Here is a picture to show where they sit:
When Lord Capulet explodes with anger at Juliet I would use an extreme close up camera shot to show the anger on Lord Capulet face, and the same for Juliet to see the sadness on her face. I would use a panning shot to show everything in the scene and in the room.
I would then add a new scene to the play. My scene would be in the garden after the fight at the dinner table. I would make Juliet run outside to get away from her father but when he catches her he would make him say something along the lines of
“Now tell our neighbours and friends how you disobey your father”,
Then use the line
“I tell thee what: get thee to church a` Thursday, or never look me in the face”.
After her father has walked a way I would use a panning shot top show Juliet kneeling on the grass crying to so her sadness and everything around her.
I directed my play like this because I think it would have been good and effective and just a little bit unique to the original scene and it shows the moods of the characters better. In the play my favourite character was Romeo because he’s a man that knows what he wants and fights for what he loves. My favourite line in act 3 scene 5 was,
” Farewell, farewell! One kiss, and I’ll descend”.
I like this line because it makes me laugh and shows the love Romeo has for Juliet, as he won’t leave without a kiss from his loved one.
There is more to love than lust. Or you could say that Romeo and Juliet did not take the time to get to know each other and form a deep intimate relationship. They rushed into their relationship. It may have really been true love that was mutually felt by both of them though.
Even though this is a well-known play if I had my choice I would read it again because you have to re-read what you read to understand it fully. My favourite character was Romeo because he shows what love really means.
My favourite scene is the balcony scene because here it shows how each one loves one another.
Overall, it was a good play to read and direct myself.