Romeo and Juliet: performance conventions

Romeo and Juliet: performance conventions

Understand the Text of “Romeo and Juliet”

  • Understand the context of “Romeo and Juliet”: It’s important to delve into the historical, social, and cultural background of the play. The context in which it was written and set directly impacts the conventions of performance.
  • Comprehend the language: Knowing the structure, rhythm, and figurative language used by Shakespeare can assist in delivering a robust and impressive performance.
  • Explore the characters: Get to know each character deeply; their motivations, internal conflicts, relations with other characters, how they evolve throughout the play. Extrapolate this knowledge into the physicality, tone, facial expressions, and mannerisms during performances.
  • Realising themes: Understand the themes woven into “Romeo and Juliet” - love, fate, conflict – and how these can be served and highlighted in your performance.

Uncover Deeper Layers of the Performance

  • Stage direction: Understanding the physical positioning of characters on stage and how it symbolizes their status, relationships, or emotional state is crucial. This can often aid in determining the dramatic intensity desired in a scene.
  • Emotional subtext: Capturing the implied emotion, tension or thought within a line or a scene beneath the words being spoken is key to deepening your performance.
  • Choreographing movement and interaction: Placing value on the physical reactions of characters to events and dialogue can enhance drama and audience experience.

Embrace the Historical and Theatrical Conventions

  • Use of historical performance conventions: These refer to methods and approaches in acting that were traditional in the Elizabethan era such as men playing women’s roles and the use of soliloquies and asides. Explore how these might be adapted for a modern audience.

Utilize the Technical Aspects of Theatre

  • Use of lighting and sound: These elements can, if used effectively, compliment and contribute vastly to the ambiance, the creation of dramatic tension and the overall storytelling.
  • Costume and makeup: Attire and physical appearance can help reveal character attributes, changes in time or location, and signal different atmospheres throughout the play.

Don’t Overlook the Subtle Elements

Remember, although “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragic love story, it’s crucial to have an understanding of the humour and wit Shakespeare infused into the text as well. The juxtaposition of comedy and tragedy can greatly enrich the complexity and impact of a performance.