Romeo & Juliet are dead
By Laura Pasetti
This production was initially commissioned by the Piccolo Theatre of Milan as part of its outreach programme to schools and is a reduced version of Shakespeare’s most famous love story. Written and adapted for students of English and Drama, it has a cast of three: Romeo, Juliet and Mercutio, played by Scott Hoatson, Julia Dixon-Philip and Alan Alpenfelt.
The play opens with the final death scene of Romeo and Juliet and is quietly observed by Mercutio, who reveals that
the lovers regularly replay this scene. After inquiring about their reasons for doing so, the ensuing dialogue reveals that all three of them are driven by a need to understand and make sense of their short lives and untimely deaths. They decide to replay the main events which led to their tragic end, examining the choices that they were presented with and their responses to them. They embark upon a journey of discovery, which leads them to an understanding of their tragedy and enables them to replay their final scene for the last time.
Although contemporary in style, the main scenes are delivered in the Shakespearean text, with the thoughts and comments of the characters spoken in present day language.
After previewing at Elgin’s Red Shoes Theatre, on Saturday 10th January, the production went to the Piccolo Theatre of Milan, where it gave 53 performances to Italian secondary school students.