By Alan Davies
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
ROMEO and Juliet, William Shakespeare’s tragic tale of love and loss, opens at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City this week.
“BUT soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
“It is the east, and Juliet is the sun…”
And the words spoken by the lovelorn Romeo, looking up at Juliet on her balcony, form one of the most beautiful poetic passages not only in Romeo and Juliet but in the whole of English drama.
Shakespeare’s tragic tale will be performed on stage at the Barn Theatre, in Welwyn Garden City, from Friday, February 8 to Saturday, February 16.
Directed by Laura Eddy and John Keogh, Romeo and Juliet is a love story set against a violent background.
The plot starts with a street brawl of members of their opposing families – the Montagues and Capulets – and then develops into highly emotional episodes.
The play should be familiar, being extensively studied and performed by students.
It was also turned into a Hollywood blockbuster by director Baz Luhrmann starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the lead roles.
Considered to be one of the most memorable love stories in world literature, the sentiment rings true without being mawkish.
The main theme is that of socially forbidden love. So Juliet, aware that their families are enemies, asks: “O Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo?
“Deny thy father and refuse thy name….”
In other words, don’t be a Montague. Or swear that you’ll be my love and I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
And the complications include chaos and passion, violence, deadly fighting, special sleeping potions, such grief that ends in suicide and finally the conciliation of their families, presented by the greatest master of English drama.
Written four centuries ago, Romeo and Juliet remains one of the most unforgettable love stories of all time.
It has served as a model for so many other plays. West Side Story and the earlier Wuthering Heights are just two of them.
Romeo and Juliet opens on Friday, with tickets costing £10, and £7 for members on the opening night.
Call the box office on 01707 324300 or visit the Barn’s website at www.barntheatre.co.uk
Performances are nightly at 8pm, with an additional matinee on February 16 at 2.30pm.