Some say that Romeo and Juliet is the most epic love story ever created, but while such a statement is debatable, the play is undoubtedly the most famous of Shakespeare’s tragedies. It is a story of forbidden love where Romeo falls in love with Juliet, but due to their respective family feuds, the lovers end up marrying in secret. Juliet unwittingly commits suicide when her father forces her to marry another with whom she shares no love. Romeo on learning of his lover’s demise also takes away his life in grief and its end, the two warring families, reconcile their differences.
The storyline of the play makes sense as it depicts the very familiar themes of love, prejudice and family feuds that resonate in every social setting. The story is easy to follow given the few numbers of characters and the flow of the story that is not complex. It is also quite interesting how the playwright employs dramatic techniques like the abrupt changes of comedy to tragedy. The tale’s surprising end is quite unexpected because the two families were ready to kill each other over trivial issues, but it is through the innocent deaths of the families’ children that they finally settle their differences. Several themes arise from the play, but the most obvious one is love which also presents a message that love conquers all.
The theatrical production of Romeo and Juliet mainly employed realistic elements. The story itself represents real events that have happened in real life, and as Wilson explains, realistic elements are those that resemble observable reality. The production portrays realism through the characters, the acting, costumes up to the actors make up. One apparent element of non-realism is through language. Romeo uses poetry when speaking to Juliet which is a non-realistic element and as put by Wilson, “It is because of the inadequacy of ordinary words that people turn to poetry”.
The play’s performance was disappointingly poor as most of the actors failed the flawless script by lacking nuance and depth. From the start to conclusion of the play, the dramatic techniques were inadequately exemplified, and the typical tender emotions and wit of the play were lacking. The actor depicting Romeo’s character particularly left less to be desired. The set, on the other hand, was well stylized. The good lighting gave a feeling of immersion into the play. Notably, the actors wore modern costumes throughout the play which expressed a sense of timelessness and everlasting relevance of the play. The performance space was simple and arranged as a long rectangle. The good use of props and a layered stage with different levels hence gave the stage a dynamic versatility when switching between different scenes. The play surprisingly had no music except for the brief party scene which felt only necessary since it was a party but otherwise added no significance to the performance. Also, the stage acoustics were okay as the performance was adequately audible.
In conclusion, the performance was utterly unimpressive. The only part of the play that stood out was the set. I would not recommend this stage production to anyone except maybe for budding lovers of theatre because for them; theatre can only get better.