Sunday, November 30, 2008

See A Shakespearean Play At The RSC In Stratford

It has been nearly twenty four hours since I completed this task, yet the mesmerizing performance I witnessed still lies fresh in my mind.

It was a cold winter's day that brought us on a return trip to Stratford Upon Avon. We visited two years previously, then just having time to do the usual tourist stops. Since the visit, I promised myself that I would come back some day, to see Shakespeare performed at the RSC and this weekend I managed to do it.

For some reason, I never covered Shakespeare at school, or if we did, we must have covered it so fleetingly that I don't remember. It wasn't until I did English A level at night class, some years later, that I came into contact with Hamlet and instantly fell in love with the plays.

The hotel, that we stayed at was within walking distance of the Courtyard Theatre, so after a little shopping and a bite to eat, we arrived at the theatre to watch Romeo and Juliet.

The main theatre in Stratford is undergoing major renovation and the Courtyard theatre, which is just down the road from this, looked very much like a work in progress as well. However, once inside, the theatre was reminiscent of Shakespearean times, with the semi circle, tiered effect seating encapsulating the stage.

Our seats were at the front of the theatre, next to the stage and from there we watched the performance, as a scene reminiscent of 1920's gangster New York unfolded before us.

Everyone I guess, knows the story of the two star crossed lovers and their ill fated deaths, but what I didn't count on was the passion and emotion you felt from the actors, being so close to the stage. It felt a little dangerous at times, as flick knifes and glasses came exceedingly close to our seats, but the professionalism of the actors in their perfect timing, meant we were never in any danger.

The whole play lasted just over three hours. As well as the rival families being depicted as gangsters, we saw the infamous balcony scene being played with Juliet on a wrought iron bed and a very passionate Romeo, brimming with emotion in almost every scene. The actress who played Juliet was in her first season with the RSC and certainly with the performance she gave, I doubt it would be her last.

The lighting and emotive acting throughout the play was so amazing, it left me breathless and wanting more. The RSC has definitely recruited one more fan on the back of this performance and as I walked out of the theatre, I was already planning to return!

One of my favourite tasks so far that I've completed!


Michelle said...

It sounds amazing! I would love to do this, I'm so jealous!

Janette Jones said...

It was - but why don't you do it - the tickets are quite reasonable - start at £10!

B said...

Sounds fantastic. I visited the Globe in London 8 years ago and I want to go see a play there, have done ever since. I should write a list....

Janette Jones said...

Ooh, don't do that, you never know where it will lead!