When I began the process of directing Romeo and Juliet I was euphoric and also terrified beyond measure. I had cast a female, age 14, to play Juliet and a male, 16, to play Romeo. Neither had any experience performing Shakespeare’s work and I immediately began to wonder if I had bitten off more than I could swallow.
But it quickly and easily became the greatest piece I have ever directed.
In our script the cast of “Montagues” and “Capulets” entered the stage lead by their victors and moved in careful choreography until Mercutio and Tybalt met in the center, as the music began to rise they touched swords and the first swing was matched with a quick surge of sound.
Romeo calls out and attempts to shield Mercutio from Tybalt, he is unsuccessful. Mercutio calls out
“A plague on both your houses”
Tybalt is slain, Benvolio drags Romeo away and it’s over. Taking a 25 minute scene and condensing it into a generationally appropriate 5 minute, intense, fight sequence.