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Another Year, Another Balcony Scene

Friday 17 February 2012

Romeo and Juliet is one of the most commonly produced plays that Shakespeare wrote (this is OSF’s 13th production). What’s unusual is to see the whole play, not just the party-swoon-balcony-marry-sex-death bits. Sometimes, particularly in junior high productions, the sex (which is all implied anyway) is cut, so we get about 75 minutes of “aw, that’s sad, isn’t life hard when families fight?”

This production does not break new ground on the staging. There, I said it. It’s a very, very professional production, with excellent lighting, set decoration, acting, direction, and everything else that goes into a professional theater production. But, setting aside (Spanish colonial California, around 1840), it’s a very conventional production. No strolling bands, no spacecraft landing, no naked fairies.

However.

The script that is presented appears to be the full script, three hours less a skosh for intermission. It has all the key and many secondary elements, including the junior high-not-approved bits and the angry-dad bit in the second half that is often deleted in shorter performances. So what one winds up with is a very traditional script with a somewhat non-traditional set decoration and costuming.

This is a good thing, as it gives the audience something a little novel to look at without getting in the way of the language of the play.

Really, really liked the balcony scene, although it won’t surprise me if the director tells Juliet to stay put more, or if Romeo has a couple of days out sometime after falling off the scenery (it’s a good thing they are both young–they will heal quicker).

Highlight of the acting: Mercutio is over-the-top good, giving an incredibly energetic performance. Of course, he gets to spend the second act dead, so he can afford to go all-out in the first. Don Capulet gets crazy violent in his big scene. Nurse will make sailors blush. And the two kids, well, they are just about the perfect point of just young enough to be convincing as 14 year olds, but actually old enough to act well. I suspect they will age very well, and this show will hit its prime in May or June. Everyone else does so well that I can’t recall even a minor bobble or mis-step.

Definitely worth a go, especially if you’ve never seen the long version.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Romeo and Juliet, Angus Bowmer Theatre, now through November 4th.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Maria permalink
    Tuesday 11 December 2012 6:37 PM

    Happy to report they completed the full run with no accidents, as a family member of one of the leads I had many sleepless nights….thanks

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