Romeo and Juliet

There is no sadder story than the tale of Romeo and Juliet.

The works of a brilliant poet whose real existence stands under a large question mark among the researchers of his work and lige do not need comments and explanations. Whatever William Shakespeare’s play we have not read it is still relevant and understandable even almost five hundred years later. And it’s not that people do not change — they change and how! — but the author chooses the problems of the very essence of human being. Cruelty, love, greed, hatred, sympathy are changing their appearance but always surround us. If a person very much wants to get rid of the negative traits of his nature then he will only succeed a little in his endeavor: such is nature, striving to keep the balance in all.

So the Youth Theater wants to maintain harmony: you can see on its stage Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” again but with an updated cast of actors. For the first time on the stage were still students like Kyrill Ratenkov (Paris) and Valerya Kolyaskina (Juliet). Seeing in many areas the reluctance of “professionals” to give way to the young and equally talented I was very happy with this news. It’s nice to see the excitement and nervousness of young actors — how do I understand them! Despite this they managed to play well. Bravo!

I can not but note a particularly unconventional scene in this performance. The youth theater differs by its intimacy: the viewer is always close to the actor and sees even a small detail on his or her suit even from the last row. For “Romeo and Juliet” the theater literally turned its stage stretching the seats along the longest wall of the hall. Now the scene has become long and narrow so the actors a stone’s throw away and during the battle scenes you have to be careful and look whether a dagger gets to someone from the first row. But we do know that it won’t happen?

I personally treat this intimate affinity with the fact that the plot and the laid-down meanings in the play are clear to us, in heroes we can recognize the traits of our friends. Thus, Sophia Tyuremnova, a stage designer, removes the existing time frame between us and Shakespeare, mixing the past and the present. Iskander Sakaev, the director, also contributed to blurring the boundaries adding a few phrases and gestures from which Shakespeare would have been horrified: the manner of speech and the language itself are now fundamentally different from the XVI century.

The choice of costumes is very interesting. Usual ball gowns for us heroes wear only a couple of times: actually on the ball and the wedding of Juliet. The rest of the time young people wear sports pants, patchwork rags or T-shirts; and on girls — long dresses with long sleeves and a headdress that sends us to the period of the English Renaissance. More attention is drawn, of course, to the clothing of Death an additional but important character in the play. Black and white colors remind us Chinese harmony, yin and yang, and the design of the top of the costume is the famous Madonna’s corset with cones by Jean-Paul Gaultier.

I liked this play with its atypical images, minimalist and almost complete lack of scenery and musicality. Actors sing and play musical instruments themselves: you could hear violin, flute and triangle. Thus, you are more absorbed in reflections, speculation of what is happening before you; you are not in the past, not in the future and not the present, but somewhere in the otherworldly reality where everything is woven together.

Photography: Ekaterina Chashchina

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