A Sit Down With The Cast of Romeo and Juliet

“Everybody loves a love story, whether they have a happy ending or not”

RJ1Romeo and Juliet is arguably one of, if not the, most popular and loved plays ever written by Shakespeare and it seems this story of the famous star-crossed lovers is as popular today as it has ever been. All within the last couple of months Romeo and Juliet has returned to Broadway in a production starring Orlando Bloom, an off-Broadway production staring Elizabeth Olsen and even a new movie. So why is this story still so popular?  Well that’s just the question I put to some of the cast of The Crescent’s forthcoming production of Romeo & Juliet when I sat down with them during a recent rehearsal. RJ3Hannah – Juliet

It’s a timeless love story and it’s incredibly relatable, particularly to teenagers who often think they’ve fallen in love and it will last forever and ever. There’s this culture clash, and the conflictions that result from the passing down from each generation brought up to hate.  These characters are so tangible, all so wonderful and fully rounded.  And I think everybody loves a love story, whether they have a happy ending or not.

Andrew – Romeo

Your first introduction to Shakespeare is at school so people can relate to the similar-aged character. So for that reason it’s probably the most accessible of Shakespeare’s stories for a young audience.

Paula – Nurse

Romeo and Juliet is a timeless love story, and people never get tired of stories about love.  It’s about two young people who fall in love, so young people can access the story, but more than that it’s the high drama of it, which makes it so much more.

Les – Friar Laurence

It’s such a poignant tale: the sadness, the tragedy, young love, violence.  It has everything. Although I feel  –  unlike Romeo – that it has more to do with hate than love, really. RJ4Sitting in on a rehearsal awash with laughter, chatter, guitar playing, actors trying to remember their lines and a Juliet sporting a noticeable knee injury it’s easy to become distracted or have your attention diverted and yet when they begin to rehearse scenes you can’t help but become fixated, encompassed and enthralled by the words they say and the story they are trying to tell. This is as much a testament to the actors in this show as it is to Shakespeare’s words, but quite frankly this is still a story that entertains and draws you in, and it will undoubtedly continue to do so for generations to come. But of course the actors didn’t simply sit down to answer that one question:

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Hannah – Juliet

What do you relate to in the character of Juliet?

Her free spiritedness, she’s so open as a character. She’s also a bit of a daydreamer fantasising about things that will never happen and wanting things she can’t have – although she actually does in Romeo!  She’s also very much the dominant one, telling Romeo what to do, and when.  

What does it mean to you to be in this show?

It’s a dream role! I love the play so to be the leading lady in it is a privilege. It’s a fantastic opportunity, and I get to work with a really supportive cast. Juliet is just so alive and enigmatic and I think every girl wants to play Juliet.

Why do you think people should come and see it?

It’s a fresh take on it, there are some outstanding individual performances from a brilliant supporting cast and there are a few surprises adding to a well known play (not to give too much away). I hope it will make the audience think.  

Andrew – Romeo

What do you relate to in the character of Romeo?

I don’t really relate to Romeo that much to be honest, but that’s what makes it interesting to perform.

What does it mean to you to be in this show?

It’s the first thing I’ve done with the Crescent and to play the lead character in a show so popular is great, there’s such history behind it. It’s been performed so many times, so to try and find a take on it is what really interests me.  

Why do you think people should come and see it?

So they can pass their GCSEs!  No we’ve got a very close knit cast and that energy comes across on stage. This show gives the parents of Romeo and Juliet a greater back story, but is still true to all the characters, so it’s not changing just for the sake of it. And even though it’s a tragedy it’s still fun, with a few laughs in there too.  

Paula – Nurse  What does it mean to you to be in this show?  

I’ve loved it since I was 14 and did it at school and I’ve seen several productions and the movies so it’s a show I have great fondness for and I’m delighted to be part of it, more so because I really like Kate’s interpretation of it  

Why do you think people should come and see it?

Hopefully it’s an original or exciting take on it. There’s a real mix of media and film with the live performances and great use of a big screen. It’s a really slick and big production with a big stage to fill.  

Les – Friar Laurence

What does it mean to you to be in this show?

Well, I was in the play last time The Crescent put it on – as Lord Capulet to Kate Owen’s Juliet!  I’ve appeared in quite a few other Crescent Shakespeare productions since then, often  cast in the role of the father, so Friar Laurence is familiar territory; he’s still very much a father- figure to both Romeo and Juliet.  

Why do you think people should come and see it? It’s a wonderful play in itself, but Kate’s interpretation makes a great retelling; there’s the cinematic aspect with the screen she has introduced and also the use of an exciting ensemble. I really think every generation of youngsters needs to see this show and we offer a fresh take on it. R5 Romeo and Juliet runs from Tuesday 5th to Saturday 16th November 2013 in the Main House at 7.30pm | Matinees: Sun 10th & Sat 16th November at 2.30pm

Tickets: £15, £14 Concessions | Sunday Matinee only: £8

Book now at http://www.crescent-theatre.co.uk/theatre-event.php?EventID=1408