Tuesday, 26 May 2015
'What a stupid thing to teach children' - Romeo & Juliet
At the very beginning of our Romeo & Juliet York run we got a glorious review from a sixth former, a girl from a local school called Hannah.
At the end of our run, Holly got this email from an American tourist called Chris.
Little else matters...
I don't have a Facebook account or anything but I wanted to tell you and the cast of Romeo and Juliet how much I enjoyed your performance yesterday. Your email was the first I found after googling the cast (after misidentifying another Emma). Please convey my appreciation to the cast.
I'm an American tourist and just wandered in on a whim on my last night in York. Your show was probably the most personally involving theatrical performance I've ever attended. The chase around the pews to the first kiss (directly in front of me!), your verbal sparring with Romeo and Benvolio, Juliet's utter heartbreak and collapse, watching her and Romeo too die among us... Well I could list nearly every event in the play, really. The ending, too, with no curtain calls, just two corpses completely redeems the play from cliche and the smug expectations of Shakespeare-savvy audience (me among them).
The way my stale high school teachers taught Romeo and Juliet was as a cautionary tale, of what happens when young people fall in love (or feel any passion): badness and doom. What a stupid thing to teach children, to suppress the most powerful aspect of youth. Their approach completely ignores the character's genuine, honest feelings, which you all brought out again vividly, unapologetically. And their approach precludes the audience from feeling any sympathy with the characters. After all they deserved it by being so dumb, right? I haven't seen Romeo and Juliet interpreted with such humanity.
I'm so disappointed that the show doesn't start up again until June in London (where I am now) or I would have seen it again.
Well that's enough rambling. Again, a truly meaningful event for me, the highlight of my vacation in the UK, and a memory I'll hold on to for a long time.
Thanks Chris & Hannah, you've made us all feel very proud.