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Lucy Wray (Juliet) and Gabriel Thomson (Romeo)

Romeo and Juliet - 2011


(The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet)

The play begins with a large street fight between the Capulets and the Montagues, two prestigious families in Verona, Italy. These families have an ongoing vendetta, and the Prince declares that their next public brawl will be punished by death. When the fight is over, Romeo’s cousin Benvolio tries to cheer him of his melancholy. Romeo is in love with a local beauty named Rosaline, but she has chosen to live a life of chastity. Romeo and Benvolio are accidentally invited to their enemy’s party; Benvolio convinces Romeo to go to examine more beauties.

After listening to the witticisms of Mercutio and his cynical view of love, the young men continue to the Capulet party. At the party, Romeo locks eyes with a young woman named Juliet. They instantly fall in love, but they do not realise that their families are mortal enemies. Romeo sneaks into Juliet’s yard after the party and proclaims his love for her. She returns his sentiments and prompted by her seriousness, the two decide to marry. The next day, Romeo and Juliet are married by Friar Lawrence with the knowledge of the Nurse, Juliet’s confidant and servant. The Friar hopes that this union will heal the rift between Capulet and Montague. They plan to meet in Juliet’s chambers that night.

Romeo visits his older mentor figure Mercutio and his cousin Benvolio, but his good mood is curtailed. Juliet’s violent cousin, Tybalt, starts a verbal quarrel with Romeo, which soon turns into a duel with Mercutio. Romeo tries to stop the fight but it is too late: Tybalt kills Mercutio. Romeo, enraged, retaliates by killing Tybalt. Once Romeo realises the consequences of his actions, he hides at Friar Lawrence’s cell. The Prince banishes him on pain of death if he is caught in Verona.

Friar Lawrence informs Romeo that he has been banished from Verona and will be killed if he stays. The Friar suggests Romeo spend the night with Juliet, and then leave for Mantua in the morning. He tells Romeo that he will attempt to settle the Capulet and Montague dispute so Romeo can later return to a united family. Romeo takes his advice, spending one night with Juliet before fleeing Verona.

Juliet’s mother, completely unaware of her daughter’s secret marriage to Romeo, informs Juliet that she will marry a man named Paris in a few days. Juliet, outraged, refuses to comply. Her parents tell her that she must marry Paris and the Nurse agrees with them. Juliet asks Friar Lawrence for advice, insisting she would rather die than marry Paris. Friar Lawrence gives Juliet a potion, which will make her appear dead, and tells her to take it the night before the wedding. He promises to send word to Romeo - intending the two lovers be reunited in the Capulet vault.

Juliet drinks the potion and everybody assumes that she is dead - including Balthasar, who immediately tells Romeo. Friar Lawrence’s letter fails to reach Romeo, so he assumes that his wife is dead. He rushes to Juliet’s tomb and, in deep grief, drinks a vial of poison. Moments later, Juliet wakes to find Romeo dead and kills herself in her grief. Once the families discover what happened, they finally end their bitter feud. Thus the youngsters’ deaths bring the families together.