Romeo y Julieta: A Taste of Shakespeare

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by An Quynh Mai during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


In Romeo y Julieta Shakespeare explores the lives and deaths of two lovers who were so passionate about each other that they could not escape their fate. Despite their love, both of them eventually failed to get their happy endings. One of Shakespeare's most popular works is Romeo and Juliet. This tragic love story is about two lovers who were so passionate about each other that they could not escape their fate. The idea of tragedy is that people are doomed to fail due to their own errors, their shortcomings, and even through the nature of their destiny. Romeo and Juliet is a tragic tale based on two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. I recommend this play for anyone who loves the art of Shakespeare, and is currently studying/interested in directing, or acting in plays themselves. They could learn a lot from watching Shakespeare. Although it would be very difficult for young audiences to understand the concept of love, they can still learn a lot from watching Romeo y Julieta. The actors use various language features and text structures to create a replica of the audience's attitudes and beliefs.

One of the most tragic and popular love stories of all time is the story of Romeo and Juliet. The two characters came from very different backgrounds, with the Montagues and the Capulets being very well-off. However, their families had been feuding for a long time, and it was forbidden for them to be together. The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is that both the actions of others and the fortune of the characters make their deaths inevitable. In the play, Shakespeare explores the idea that people have no control over what happens to them. The actors did an amazing job of portraying the story and using the language of Shakespeare to convey the message. The actors also did a fantastic job with making the play relatable for people who may experience a love like that someday. This is a very difficult task for the actors since the play Romeo y Julieta is very unrealistic and not very relatable for the audience. They have had many chances to get what they want, but they have been unable to take advantage of them. In one of the scenes, Romeo talks about a mysterious danger that's hanging in the stars. This concept of fate explains how life works. In one of Shakespeare's most famous scenes, Friar Lawrence warns Romeo about the consequences of his actions. This warning serves as a reminder that his actions will have negative consequences. The central theme of the play is that we have no control over what happens.

Another thing the play directors did an amazing job with is including LGBTQ+ representation. A lot of plays tend to not include LGBTQ+ representation and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it's very comforting to see such chemistry between two actors of the same gender! Especially since Shakespeare created Romeo and Juliet near the 1600´s, which was when it was unheard of for a couple to be of the same gender. In recent years, the number of LGBTQ+ characters being featured in television and film has been increasing this is due to the increasing acceptance of sexual orientation in society. However, while it is important to note that this representation is still very limited, it does not represent all people. Being able to include a wide variety of LGBTQ+ people in media, such as television and movies, can have a powerful impact on the marginalized community. It may take a long time to see how this will affect people. This play shows how the LGBTO community is portrayed in a positive light. Personally, I was very pleased to see that the actors didn´t mock the community, and they didn't try to make it seem like they are being overbearing, or that their entire personality is being gay. It's very rare in modern media to see this kind of representation. Being able to show the LGBTQ+ community in a positive light can help the audience feel like they are being represented in a proper manner. Being able to see positive role models in media can also help an individual feel like they are being represented in a good light. It can also help the viewers of such shows feel less negative about the people who are in the LGBTQ+ community. However, being able to show the LGBTQ community in a negative light can also lead to the development of stereotypes that are harmful to the community.

This leads me to my next idea: language, text, and body language. This can be seen in this passage by the way that the actors use words such as Thee, Thou, and etc.. The lovers do this in scenes that they are in together as well as those that they are not, so it is not a form of speaking that they only use with one another, but how they were raised to articulate their thoughts. Although the writing was done in a way that was supposed to control the way that the actors portrayed the role, many performers say the lines in a way that could change the entire meaning of a single word, which is not something I feel like the actors did. A lot of people also couldn´t understand the Shakespearean language which made it very confusing to those who have never watched a play from Shakespeare.

From the audience's perspective, the seating was very unusual and made it so that people didn't have enough leg room, since people started laying on each other during the entire show. I was one of the people who had people lay on them and I didn’t feel comfortable during the entire play. The seating also made it so that it was hard to hear any of the actors while they were performing. An alternative to sitting on the bleachers is sitting/laying on the floor, or getting chairs/seats that we could sit in. That way, we can move more freely and we'd be closer to the actors so we could hear them and see them better. Another complaint I heard quite frequently was that it was hard to understand them when they were switching languages (English to Spanish). I agree with this statement because I believe that switching so often from Spanish to English had good intentions, and were well suited for people who were Dual-Language speakers, but, it lost track of where the story is taking place. It was hard to understand in Spanish because I don't know the language very well and it was unexpected when they switched languages. Since it was hard to understand the Spanish, It was also easy to lose track of what they were saying because they switched languages all the sudden.

All of the reasons above conclude that the play was excellent, but isn´t recommended for those who wouldn´t relate to it personally.

Lead photo credit: Romeo y Julieta by Seattle Shakespeare Company. Photo by Christian Zumbado.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

This review was written as part of an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School in Mrs. Fishman’s Language Arts classes, taught by Press Corps teaching artist Jordi Montes.

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