We have finally opened our show to Dubai audiences and it was amazing. The two shows today were largely school’s parties, which fits Romeo and Juliet very well. Juliet is the same age as the majority of the audience so I think that they can relate to a lot of the things that she goes through. The disagreements and subsequent blow-ups with her parents, her bossiness, her sweetness, flirtations and awakening desires.
The audiences lifted my performance, my version of Juliet directs a lot of her monologues directly to the audience and the relationship with them is very important. The audience also caused the flirtatious and passionate aspects of my character to be heightened, the speech that Juliet gives beginning with “Gallop apace you fiery footed steeds” is electric with sexual longing and the audience responded to that very strongly – needless to say the innuendo in “Come night, Come Romeo” was picked up by our very attentive audience.
It was apparent that the majority of the audience were teenagers, they laughed at death and romance scenes – presumably brought on by the awkwardness , shouted “kiss” in the Romeo and Juliet wedding scene, they thought that the nurse scene was hilarious and clapped after a number of scenes. They also went deathly silent in the scenes that became more dark – such as the “hang ye young baggage” scene where Lord Capulet shouts at Juliet, drags her around the stage, shouts, throws her the floor and threatens to kick her out into the streets if she does not marry Paris. One person also exclaimed “she’s alive” when Juliet awoke from her deathly slumber (I guess they missed the bit where the Friar explains that this is going to happen).
Some of the audience stayed for a Q&A after which the whole cast answered on a panel. The best question was:
Why is Shakespeare relevant to today’s audiences?
I am not going to answer that now, what is your view?
Later in the week I will do a list of FAQ’s from the Q&A sessions that we have done.