Read or download the Romeo & Juliet dramaturgy program articles

calshakes.org
  • No tags were found...

Read or download the Romeo & Juliet dramaturgy program articles

SEPARATI O N,REPARATION,arriving too lateBy Resident DramaturgPhilippa KellyRepeatedly (even obsessively)throughout his 20-year writing career,Shakespeare explored the theme offather/daughter separation. At the ageof 27, as he began writing Romeo andJuliet, the dramatist was already afather of three. Hamnet, a twin, woulddie in 1595 of a fever; left with twodaughters, Shakespeare would for therest of his life favor Susannah, hisfirst-born. Judith, the remaining twin,like many a lesser-loved daughter,would continue to displease herfather, marrying late and unsuitably,and suffering the ignominy of beingpartially disinherited at his death.It might seem remarkable that afather who so favored one daughterwould base so many plays around thetrauma arising from either a father’sunreasonable preference or a father’sunwillingness to let go. But it madefor good drama, since in his time agirl was her father’s property untilher marriage, and he had the rightto choose her husband. A father’schoice of bridegroom was in effect thefinal—and most important—choicehe’d ever make on his daughter’sbehalf. Regardless of his own familycircumstances, as a playwrightShakespeare saw the dramaticpotential to be derived from thisfamily dynamic, and he drew on it andworried at it in tragedies, comedies,and romances. Only once in his career,in The Tempest, would Shakespeareportray a father/daughter separationthat goes according to plan—and evenin this context, a dismayed Prosperofinds that although he might bringthe perfect bridegroom literally to hisdaughter’s “door,” the mysteries ofpassion transcend a father’s powerto control them, even by magic.“Younger than she are early mothersmade,” observes Juliet’s mother inRomeo and Juliet, “Thus was I myself.”Suckled and nurtured not by her cold,distant mother but by a practical andbawdy nurse, at 13 Juliet is both aninnocent upper-class young girl andthe product of her nurse’s handsondetermination in the face of life’scomplexities. Even at this young age,Juliet is ready to separate from herparents—and she does, by falling inlove with Romeo. Confronted with herreluctance to accept his own choiceof suitor, her father brutally attemptsAt 13 Juliet isboth an innocentupper-classyoung girl and theproduct of hernurse’s hands-ondetermination inthe face of life’scomplexities.to nail her into place: “fettle your finejoints ’gainst Thursday next,/To gowith Paris to Saint Peter’s Church,/OrI will drag thee on a hurdle thither.”But, unbeknownst to him, love hasalready carried his daughter away, andno buckets of his famed wealth canhold her. Subsequently abandonedby her family, her nurse, and hernewly-dead lover—even by the trustedfriar, who “reassures” her that shecan still choose to spend the rest ofher life in a nunnery—Juliet takesa knife and plunges it in her heart.This is when it’s most fully evidentthat Juliet is only 13: too young toknow that there can ever be a sequelto her wrenching story of love.Who knows whether, if Juliet hadconfided in her father, she might havewon his approval for her marriage toRomeo? Certainly Capulet is quitesanguine, even avuncular, aboutRomeo’s disguised presence at hisball. Juliet is Capulet’s only survivingchild, and he declares quite strongly tohis chosen suitor, Paris, that marriageshould not be foisted upon his preciousdaughter: He wants her to be bothready and happy. But, as a child stillliving in the world of absolutes, Juliethas gone ahead and married withouther parents’ knowledge, affectingher own secret act of separation.The subsequent succession of eventsthat leads to Romeo’s banishmentleaves her in acute distress, whichher father seeks to alleviate bygranting her the excitement of asocially ambitious marriage. It’s onlyin refusing his gift that Juliet bringsdown his wrath, and the tragedyunrolls while we watch helplessly.“Oh, Juliet!” we might say, “Why couldyou not have waited?” The answer issimple—again, because she’s only 13.As the nurse’s charge, Juliet alreadyunderstands sexuality, even if she hasnot experienced it. When immatureRomeo calls her a holy shrine at theball, he means it as a flirtation. Butshe takes it as a promise: “This bud oflove, by summer’s ripening breath,/Mayprove a beauteous flower when nextIn this play, everyone, even apresumably contemplative man ofGod, hurtles forward in the heat ofthe moment, with retrospectionrevealing paths that might moreprudently have been taken.we meet,” she says soon thereafter,and it is she who sets her own scriptand candidly edits his: “Oh swear notby the moon, the inconstant moon…”Juliet, in effect, creates the stronglyrootedlover she needs Romeo to be.By the end of Shakespeare’s play,Romeo—cut off from Mercutio andseparated by banishment from allhis old swashbuckling friends—doesindeed become her utterly devotedlover: prepared to leave the worldrather than live without her. This rashcourage is embodied in his words,‘‘Thou desperate pilot, now at oncerun on/The dashing rocks thy sea-sickweary bark/Here’s to my love!” Ingiving Romeo this extended metaphor,Shakespeare was drawing on thegreatest motif of courage and audacityknown to his world at the time: thatof sea-faring. Being an explorer inthese decades must have requiredextraordinary valor. And so, as the playrushes toward its end, we envisageRomeo, the newly intrepid explorer,doomed—but also ready and willing—to pay a terrible price for his passion.On less tempestuous waters, passionmight have been given the chance toquell, lapping into the quieter watersof affection (or disregard). But thislover doesn’t have the chance tolive on and inevitably change: He isthrust forward on the seas of passionto be dashed upon the rocks.It’s not only Juliet who suffers from alack of parental guidance. Who knowshow Romeo’s rash journey mighthave been tempered had he beenable to approach his father? LordMontague—largely absent from theplay and from his son’s thoughts—makes an appearance only to askwhat all the fuss of the young men’sfight is about and later, in absentia, togrieve at his son’s death. The Friar isRomeo’s acknowledged father-figure;and, as such, he has a responsibilityas both religious confessor and inlocus parentis. He makes a choiceto perform the marriage ceremonyin the hope that this will heal thefamily feud: and so it might bewondered whether he is, in theend, a worse father to Romeo thanthe negligent Montague. It seemsso with the benefit of hindsight—but in this play, everyone, even apresumably contemplative man ofGod, hurtles forward in the heatof the moment, with retrospectionrevealing paths that might moreprudently have been taken.As director Shana Cooper observes,Romeo and Juliet is not a story aboutthe stars controlling our destinies—it’sabout the urges and vulnerabilities ofbeing human. This scenario is playedout in the complexities of parent/childmiscommunication; in this respect,the far-off dusty heat of 16 th -centuryfeuding Verona is no different fromthe world of today. Parenting begetsboth hope and regret, but one thingwe know for sure: Children willseparate and form their own lives,and the most controlling of parentsare, in the end, bystanders to thepassage of their children’s hearts.


See how she leans her cheek upon her hand!O that I were a glove upon that hand,That I might touch that cheek!Romeo, honey: You had me at “But soft!”upon each other in the street and begin a sword brawl.Benvolio’s call for peace is met by Tybalt’s proclamation:What, drawn and talk of peace? I hate the wordAs I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee…Hatred is like drinking poison and waiting for the otherperson to die, so the saying goes. Shakespeare seems toliteralize this idea through his use of poison as a device todefeat love in Romeo and Juliet. Hoping to escape theirparents’ mutual hatred and find freedom for their mutualadoration, both Juliet and Romeo drink a poisonoussubstance: Juliet to induce a death-like coma, hoping her“death” will allow life for her new-found love for Romeo.Likewise, Romeo dies by ingesting liquid poison in his griefover Juliet’s alleged death. Upon awakening to finding hiscorpse, Juliet kisses Romeo’s still-warm lips, crying,Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end.O churl, drunk all, and left no friendly dropTo help me after? I will kiss thy lips;Haply some poison yet doth hang on them,To make me die with a restorative.The poison of which she speaks is hatred; the actual liquidis merely the instrument through which hatred prevails.During the course of their young lives, the children ofCapulet and Montague are force-fed a steady diet from thecup of their parents’ poisonous enmity. The children diefrom their parents’ hate and so hate triumphs over love.Shakespeare’s 16 th -century depiction of hate conqueringlove seems confirmed by 21 st -century psychology. In2001, the Review of General Psychology published theresults of a formal study entitled “Bad is Stronger ThanGood,” which contain the following depressing findings:Bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback havemore impact than good ones, and bad informationis processed more thoroughly than good…Badimpressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to formand more resistant to disconfirmation than goodones…Hardly an exception can be found. Takentogether, these findings suggest that bad is strongerthan good, as a general principle across a broadimage of psychological phenomena. (Baumeister,Bratslavsky, Findenauer, and Vohs, p. 362)The authors’ conclusion is as dismal as Shakespeare’stragedy: “In our review, we have found bad to be strongerthan good in a disappointingly relentless pattern…Thelack of exceptions suggest how basic and powerful is thegreater power of bad.”But wait…isn’t Romeo and Juliet allegedly aboutthe power of love? The play’s reputation as anillustration of the power of love is a staple of ourcollective cultural consciousness. Reputation andtruth, however, can be very different animals.Many first encounter Romeo and Juliet in an English classwhile at an age similar to the star-crossed lovers—whenindividuals are most susceptible to the idea that it issomehow noble or romantic to adore one so ferociouslythat death seems a small price to pay for True Love. Themark Romeo and Juliet’s poetry leaves on hormonallychargedyoung minds makes an indelible imprint onour hearts. Even as I type that last sentence, I canhear a piano and stringed instruments cue the themefrom Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film version to underscoreShakespeare’s words, luring me back to my 13-year-oldself, and the conventional wisdom that Shakespeare’s teenlovers exemplify love in its purest, most holy form: Theirforbidden love conquered their family’s hate! They loveddespite the odds! Their love was so strong that not evendeath could keep them apart!The play’s reputation is helped tremendously by the factthat Shakespeare did indeed outdo himself in the poeticbeauty of the love sentiments expressed in the text. Afterall, who wouldn’t want his or her beloved to say the thingsof them that Romeo so exuberantly gushes over Juliet:But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?It is the east and Juliet is the sun!...The brightness of her cheek would shame those starsAs daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heavenWould through the airy region stream so brightThat birds would sing and think it were not nightFor her part, Juliet can also turn one’s internal organs allwarm and runny. In a world where most relationships—and more than 50% of marriages—are statisticallydoomed to utter failure, who doesn’t want their belovedto look them square in the eye and declare without irony:My bounty is as boundless as the sea,My love as deep; the more I give thee,The more I have, for both are infinite!Infinite love? I don’t care who you are—that’sgood stuff right there! Juliet: Sign! Me! Up!The play’s beautiful words have also been incorporatedinto a favorite national mythology: the romanticizedvision of the Kennedy family in the 1960s. SenatorRobert Kennedy cemented the idea at the 1964Democratic National Convention when, after a22-minute standing ovation as he walked out on thestage, he introduced a film about the late president.His voice quavering with emotion, Senator Kennedyproclaimed of his fallen brother the same words Julietexclaims about Romeo before her wedding night:…And when [he] shall die,Take him and cut him out in little starsAnd he will make the face of heaven so fineThat all the world will be in love with nightAnd pay no worship to the garish sun.The beautiful memorial further affixed itself into thenational subconscious when RFK was assassinatedin 1968, on the night of his victory in the Californiademocratic primary. This same year, Franco Zeffirellifilmed his famous version of Romeo and Juliet, whichearned $14.5 million dollars upon its release in 1969.To get lost in the beauty of Shakespeare’s text, however, isto lose sight of his context. Juliet’s words are spoken justbefore she is informed that Romeo has bloodily killedher cousin Tybalt. They also anticipate, as if spoken bya seer, the death of both Juliet and Romeo. Just as theassassination of the Kennedy brothers was a triumph forhatred over progress and new ideas, Shakespeare’sromantic tragedy is a bitter paean to the Power of Hate.The play’s opening lines immediately announce thatlove is doomed before it starts by the collective hatespewed forth from the Capulets and the Montagues.Love is not the sentiment first illustrated on stage. Hateis the first powerful emotion voiced when young maleservants and family members of both houses happenThe young men of the houses of Montague and Capulethave a common denominator: These boys love to hate.Further, they seem to conflate the two emotions. Romeo’sremarks on the brawl seem tied to his own unrequited lovefor Rosalind, from which he suffers a crushing depressionof Hamlet-like proportions at the beginning of the play.Just as Tybalt passionately luxuriates in his hatred of theMontagues, so Romeo wallows with as great a passionin love’s dark side: love unreturned, love scorned, lovedenied.Juliet, too, recognizes the conflation of love and hate inthis world when she is informed of Romeo’s true identity:Nurse: His name is Romeo, a Montague,The only son of your great enemy.Juliet: My only love sprung from my only hate!Love cannot take true root in this play. It is sown in thesoil of hate and destined to whither on the vine. As thePrince informs the warring families at the play’s finale:Where be these enemies? Capulet, Montague,See what a scourge is laid upon your hate,That heaven finds a means to kill your joys with love.Although the families vow to end their war, erectmemorials to their fallen children, and observe “aglooming peace,” it is just as easy to imagine a sequelto the play, wherein the parties’ grief leads to blame,and further eruptions of bloody hatred. After all, previousattempts to end the violence were to absolutely no avail.When Capulet tells Tybalt to leave Romeo in peace atthe masque, Tybalt obeys for the moment, but ruefullymutters:I will withdraw. But this intrusion shall,Now seeming sweet, convert to bitt’rest gall.A day later, Tybalt picks a fight with the Montaguesand ends up dead. Capulet’s conciliatory words fall ondeaf ears because the families have nursed and weanedtheir children on mutual hatred. Mere words are nocompetition for years of being nourished with the milkbloodof contemptuous loathing; and loathing kills love.So is Shakespeare saying hate is stronger than love? If so,he was on to a depressing conclusion confirmed by our21 st -century psychology. Some light, however, exists at theend of the tunnel. “Bad Is Stronger Than Good,” tries toameliorate its own findings by noting:…the greater power of bad may itself be a goodContinued on Page 19.


Continued from page 13.thing. Moreover, good can stilltriumph in the end by force ofnumbers. Even though a bad eventmay have a stronger impact than acomparable good event, many livescan be happy by virtue of havingfar more good than bad events.(362)That’s some hope. And yet it rings withthe same remorseful attempt at makingthe best of things that the Chorusembodies when they conclude theplay with:A glooming peace this morning withit brings;The sun, for sorrow, will not showhis head.Go hence to have more talk of thesesad things.So shall be pardoned, and somepunished;For never was a story of more woeThan this of Juliet and her Romeo.


TEXT BY PUBLICATIONS MANAGER STEFANIE KALEMDESIGN BY CALLIE CULLUM & SARAH SOWARDThe play opens with a, which is no surprise:The Capulets and the Montagues—two wealthy families—have been feuding for so longthat no one really remembers why.a Montague, lovesRosaline, a minorCapulet. Romeo’scousin Benvolio thinks he should justget over it, and convinces him to crash a ball thrownbyto see how many other lovely fishes(Capulets and non-) there are in the sea. At the party—masked and accompanied by Benvolio and theircynical friend Mercutio—Romeo does indeed forget Rosaline—when he seesLord Capulet’sonly daughter,ROMEO, FROM BENEATH HER BALCONY, SUCCESSFULLYWOOS JULIET. HE FINDS A FRIAR TO MARRY THEM, ANDGETS THE MESSAGE TO JULIET THROUGH HER NURSE,WHO IS BRIEFLY WAYLAID BY THE SALTY MERCUTIO.ROMEO AND JULIET MARRY.AFTERWARD, ROMEO COMES UPON MERCUTIO FIGHTINGWITH TYBALT, JULIET’S COUSIN. ROMEO TRIES TO BREAKUP THE FIGHT, BUT TYBALT KILLS MERCUTIOTHEN TAKES OFF. ROMEO CHASES HIM DOWN,FIGHTS HIM, AND KILLS HIM.LORD CAPULETROMEO IS BANISHED. MAKES PLANSTO MARRY JULIET OFF WITHOUT MUCH FURTHER ADO—UNAWARE THAT SHE IS ALREADY MARRIED. CLEARLY OUTOF OPTIONS, JULIET PROCURES AFROM THEFRIAR AND USES IT TO FAKE HER OWN DEATHSO THAT SHE CAN LATER RISE FROM THE GRAVEAND GO TO HER OSTRACIZED HUSBAND.BUT EVEN THAT WOULD BE TOO EASY: ROMEO HEARSTHAT JULIET HAS DIED, AND PROCURES HIS OWNPOTION—THIS ONE, NOT THEDEATH-FAKING STUFF. HE DRINKS IT AT HER GRAVE. JULIETAWAKES TO FIND HER LOVER DEAD,GRABS HIS SWORD , AND ENDS HER LIFEFOR REAL THIS TIME.


BY CAL SHAKES ASSOCIATE ARTIST DAN HIATT, WHO PLAYS THE FRIAR AND LORD CAPULET IN ROMEO & JULIET1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1213 14 15 16 1718 19 2021 22 23 2425 26 27 28 2930 31 32 33 34 3536 37 38 39 40 4142 43 4445 46 47 48 49 50 5152 53 5455 56 57 5859 60 6162 63 64 65 66 6768 69 70 71 72 73 74 7576 77 78 79 8081 82 8384 85Across1. TTT by J. Frank Wilson and the Cavalierswhich begins, “Well where oh where canmy baby be?/ The Lord took her awayfrom me”9. City by the Bay, for short13. Feeling of well-being14. Othello, for one15. Laura Petrie’s hubby18. TTT by Jan and Dean which begins, “Iwas cruisin’ in my Sting Ray late one night...”20. Sheet music abbr.21. Opposite of “nary” in the Ozarks22. G-man Eliot23. Martini maker24. Walnut Creek to Concord dir.25. Its last passenger flight was 10/24/200327. TTT by Mark Dinning which begins, “Thatfateful night/ the car was stalled upon therailroad track”30. buco34. Pro-gun grp.35. With “Lingus,” Irish airline36. Romeo and Juliet, or any theme entry inthis puzzle41. TTT (sort of) by Johnny Ray which begins,“If your sweetheart sends a letter of goodbye...”42. Guns N’ Roses’ Rose43. Not this or that44. “ Gratia Artis”—MGM motto45. TTT by Ray Peterson which begins,“Laura and Tommy were lovers/ hewanted to give her everything”52. Richard Crookback’s numerical suffix53. French snow54. “Eureka!”55. Tachometer unit56. With 71-Down, TTT by the Shangri-Las,which begins, “I met him at the candystore/ Turned around and smiled at me,you get the picture? Yes, we see!”59. See 60-Across60. With 59-Across, park restriction61. City near Phoenix62. TTT by Everly Brothers which begins “Ona weekend pass I wouldn’t have had time/To get home and marry that baby of mine”65. Craiglist abbr.68. 22-Across org.69. Stat for Lincecum70. Ron Howard role74. Ghraib76. Cable network mogul Turner77. Rule by which “everything evens out inthe end”81. ’60s university radical org.82. Actors Neeson or Vincent83. Behavior in a 36-Across, often84. Stallone and Taming of the Shrew’sChristopher85. Dire Straits’ frontman MarkDown1. Swan woman of myth2. Hungarian violinist Leopold and others3. Fixes a kitty4. Honorary degree Oz bestows on theScarecrow (Doctor of Thinkology)5. Polka-dot jersey wearer in Tour de France,for short6. Ayatollah Khomeini’s land7. qua non8. 2011 Titus Andronicus director Joel9. Dallas inst. of higher learning10. Fake11. City 20 miles East of L.A.12. Sports venue15. Smokey the Bear’s headwear16. Cantankerous17. Jacques is Alive and Well and Livingin Paris19. Chicago wintertime26. One of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s sixteen28. Football position29. Mother of pearl31. Popular Russian vodka, familiarly32. Mex. miss33. Pearl Harbor island36. Make lace37. Common file letters following a dot38. Mirror shapes in Leko stage lights39. Teutonic country in Eur.40. Ancient Messenian city44. Recent Chevrolet models46. Sensory threshold47. Terror weapon for short48. Vietnamese chess star Le Quang49. Shrek, for one50. Hard of hearing response51. Dawn Chong55. Massaged56. Time-payment plan of old57. Calm part of hurricane58. Big toy co. Schwarz60. Jump the tracks62. Newt children63. Hollers64. Francis Ford’s director daughter, familiarly66. Eat it with lox or schmear67. What you may become from eating toomany 66-Downs71. See 56-Across72. “The Terrible” tsar73. Architect Saarinen75. Former world pwr.78. Certain mantras79. Name ending for many a regional theater80. Landon, defeated by FDR in 1936Solutions can be found onlineat www.calshakes.org/articles.

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines