Courseworks

You are the director of a theatre workshop

You are going to give a lecture to four young actors and give them advice on how they should play their parts in a performance of Romeo and Juliet: Act one scene five.Write out the lecture you will give to the actors.Welcome to the Walton Theatre Company and congratulations on your successful audition for roles in our latest production of Romeo and Juliet.I am going to explain to you how I want you to play your parts but before I do that, I need you to listen carefully while I give you some information about the play as a whole so that you can put the scene into the wider context of the play. It is important that you understand this so that you can portray your characters, as Shakespeare would have liked them to be played on stage.Please don’t make notes, as I will give you a copy of my talk later.Romeo and Juliet was written by William Shakespeare who is one of the world’s greatest playwrights. He wrote many of his plays during the fifteenth century concentrating on the writing of comedies and plays, which dealt primarily with English history. Later in his career he focused on tragedies like Hamlet and Macbeth. None of his plays were published in his lifetime, as his original manuscripts did not contain act and scene divisions or stage directions, these were added much later. Shakespeare’s drama is seen as being both innovative and challenging as it questions the beliefs, assumptions and politics of Elizabethan society in its action.Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written in the early part of Shakespeare’s career. It was probably written before 1597 when it was first performed. The idea of the play is not original as several writers in the early sixteenth century refer to a story of two young lovers from opposing families. Shakespeare based much of his play closely on a long poem by Arthur Brooke, The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, which was written in 1562.Shakespeare makes many changes, which include making Juliet younger and adding the character of Mercutio to his play. He sought through his language to bring the story to life by making each character distinctive and memorable .Shakespeare reveals through the action in the play, the turmoil of emotions that are experienced by Romeo and Juliet while also evoking moods of violence, tenderness, passion and terror in its events.Although it is probably not true historically Romeo and Juliet is true in many other ways, because it has lasted so long, and because people still find its issues fascinating today since it expresses the truth about human experience. In every period of history, young people have fallen in love against their parent’s wishes. Where families, societies or religions are in conflict, troubles always lie in store for a boy and a girl from opposing camps who wish to marry.It is this aspect which Shakespeare explores in the story of Romeo and Juliet. In the play, the Montagues and the Capulets are the two chief families in the city of Verona. For years, they have been involved in a bitter feud. Their teenage children, Romeo, a Montague, and Juliet, a Capulet, meet by accident at a grand party and fall instantly in love. They marry in secret, but cannot escape the consequences of their families’ savage quarrel. Romeo’s best friend Mercutio is killed by Tybalt of the Capulets family. In revenge, Romeo kills Tybalt and is banished from Verona. Friar Lawrence devises a dangerous plan to help Romeo and Juliet live together in happiness, but his scheme goes terribly wrong. Romeo, believing Juliet is dead, kills himself to join her in death. Juliet finding Romeo dead kills herself, not wanting to live without him. Their deaths ending the quarrels of the Montague’s and the Capulets.The events of Romeo and Juliet occur as a result of the love and the conflict between the two families. There are many kinds of love in the play, which centres on the love between the two main characters Romeo and Juliet. This ‘love’ at first sight develops quickly into a strong mutual attachment. When the lovers meet for the first time at the party, time seems to stand still. Even in the middle of the Capulet party, it is as if Romeo and Juliet are alone together. They are willing to do anything to be with one another, but fate is against them. Their words to each other at this time are tender and intimate, but, at the same time, there are many reminders in their speeches of their tragic destiny.Destiny and fate is also an important theme in the play. The sequence of events that lead up to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet could be seen as coincidence or bad luck. However, the prologue to the play tells us that they are star-crossed lovers and that fate is against them. Time and time again throughout the play we are reminded that Romeo and Juliet are going to die, and it seems that whatever they do, the two young lovers will not be able to avoid the inevitable tragic end to their relationship.Their relationship is made more tragic by the conflict between the two families, the Montague’s and the Capulet’s, which is central to the action of the play. There is no reason given for this longstanding grudge and yet many people die because of it. Many members of each family seem to be governed by a macho code of honour exemplified by Tybalt and Mercutio which requires them to hate, insult, fight and kill each other.Act one scene five takes place in the great hall in Capulet’s mansion. In spite of his fearful misgivings and a sense of doom, Romeo decides to go along with other members of the Montague family to the Capulet party. This is significant as Romeo by his own actions seems to be foretelling his own fate and destiny, and there is an early suggestion that the story will end in tears and tragedy.Now we come to the character of Capulet, this is your part Sean, and to play this part successfully you will need to show that you are a wealthy and successful man who is used to getting his own way. The party would be very spectacular to look at on stage with all the beautiful clothes, dancing and music. You are in a very good mood as you greet your guests. You are playing ‘mine host’. You are happy and jovial as you enter the scene shaking their hands, laughing and joking with them.In your first speech you tease your guests and you are in a party mood as you quickly switch between many different people to greet them. Gentlemen, mistresses. You are the perfect host and move amongst your guests to greet them by shaking their hands and flattering the ladies. You welcome the maskers into the hall and watch the dance while giving orders to the servant. You remember the days when you were too young to dance when you chat to a cousin. Your comments indicate that you sit down with him to talk Do sit down, good cousin Capulet. At this point you are at your most charming and natural remembering your own dancing days long ago, and you express surprise that it was not so long, not so long, emphasising this by your comment I don’t believe it. This conversation should take place away from the main action after which you move once more amongst your guests, urging them to enjoy themselves until you are interrupted by Tybalt’s anger.What’s annoying you so much? You try to stop Tybalt acting foolishly as you first explain that Romeo is a respected and virtuous young man, then when Tybalt refuses to listen you rebuke him into submission dismissing Tybalt as you warn him you’ll make a mutiny among my guests.Shakespeare’s plays lacked staging and scenery and many of his characters often tell the audience what location the stage and actors are represented at different moments in the action, so creating the scene in the imagination of the audience and this comes through your speech.You identify Romeo and order him to behave honourably despite Tybalt seeking revenge. You become indignant and mock Tybalt’s threats then continue to acknowledge the dancers before moving back to Tybalt declaring him to be you are a primcox while warning him to be quiet or leave. You become more angry as you have seen the Prince that morning (who you want your daughter to marry) and don’t want any trouble at your party. You thunder at Tybalt putting him firmly in his place, giving orders about the party in the same lines I’ll make you quiet (To guests) What, cheeky my hearts! When you order the servants to bring more lights you move back amongst your guests.Your comments leave Tybalt feeling frustrated and unhappy as you resist continuing the feud with the Montague gatecrashers for the moment and set a mood of good humour for the dancing. Your comments might curb Tybalt briefly, but he goes on to challenge Romeo behind your back. As the party gets late you slip away quietly without being noticed, in contrast to your big entrance this is a subdued and quiet exit.Now we come to the part of fiery Tybalt, this is your part Craig, and to play this part well you need to show that you are an aggressive, hot tempered young man who hates all the Montagues. As you enter the party you walk in with a swagger and a show of arrogance, after all you really think that you are someone important. Danger and excitement enter with the fiery and unpredictable Tybalt and you must bring these qualities out in your speech and movement. You are enraged immediately by the insult of Romeo’s presence as you notice straightaway Romeo’s attraction to Juliet. Fetch me my rapier. You insult Romeo with venom as he is covered with an antic face. You grow angrier though when you are challenged by Capulet who has to use force to control you.This leads to your challenge to Romeo resulting in the later deaths of Mercutio and yourself. it fits when such a villain is a guest. I’ll not endure him. You continue to complain that you are not allowed to action the violence, which is such an important part of your life. Why, uncle, ’tis a shame- you threaten to kill Romeo and swear retribution as you storm off. It is your actions and behaviour, which contributes to the tragic events which take place later in the play. I will withdraw but this intrusion shall, now seeming sweet, convert to bitterest gall. You are living proof of the feud, present at the lovers’ first meeting, and later you precipitate the tragedy by vowing revenge on Romeo. You reinforce the audience’s impression of your impetuous character and they begin to see how such hot-headedness runs in the family when Lord Capulet beats you down.As Tybalt you are ordered to leave Romeo alone but your words are heavy and threatening. Your language spits out alliteration to show your contempt patience perforce and seeming sweet as you literally shake with anger and fury speaking in rhyme to make your words in this scene both memorable and powerful.Now we come to the character of Romeo. This is your part Stephen and to play this part with fire and passion you will need to show your use of witty puns and elaborate wordplay.At the beginning of the scene you are infatuated with Rosaline and you are persuaded to go to the Capulet party, as she will be there. You are romantic, passionate and a bit of a dreamer. Your emotions are the most important thing to you. Although you are infatuated with Rosaline, when you meet Juliet, you quickly forget her as soon as you see the most beautiful and important thing to you in the world. Did my heart love til now?At this moment it would all go quiet on stage as you spot Juliet. Your language tells us that the focus of this scene is now romantic, even though you have come to the party to see Rosaline, you spot Juliet across the crowded room and your eyes immediately meet. Despite everything you have said about your love for Rosaline you fall hopelessly in love with Juliet at first sight describing her as a snowy dove trooping with crows. You do not know who she is, but you are totally captivated by her. You express your admiration for her in clear, genuine terms you praise Juliet likening her to a dove and a jewel, immediately recognising the difference between this attraction and what you felt for Rosaline. You plan to approach Juliet and touch her hand.You use rhyme in your speech to emphasise the intense emotions that you are feeling bright and night, also metaphors and similes to describe the effect that she has on you. This continues with your use of holy imagery, which demonstrates the innocence and purity of Juliet and how greatly she affects you.When you manage to approach Juliet and touch her hand you speak in fourteen lines of verse, speaking your lines to one another. After the anger of Tybalt it is a joy to watch you and Juliet together. Your words are full of tender, holy imagery and your lines rhyme and chime together to form a sonnet, a classic love poem, which leads to your first kiss with Juliet. Your language and images are holy and reflect the goodness of your love. This demonstrates how in tune you are with one another. Have not saint lips, and holy palmers too? / Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer. The sonnet ends with a rhyming couplet, accompanied by a kiss.You, Romeo are tentative towards Juliet and eager to kiss her immediately. You speak to each other as though you are completely alone even though you are in the middle of a party.Your words are a complete contrast to the noise and chatter of the party.your words are tender and intimate contrasting with the anger of Tybalt’s accusations. The love is obviously romantic passion and as Romeo your first instinct is to touch Juliet, while hers is to respond to your kiss. But unlike your indulgence for Rosaline, this love is genuine; the religious language and the way you respond to Juliet in complementing lines and the obvious instant equal attraction shown in your looks and body language prove this to the audience.When your embrace is interrupted by the Nurse, who tells you the stunning news that Juliet is the daughter of the house; a Capulet and you learn the horrifying news, you are hurried away by Benvolio. You are determined to see her again so you go to the orchard to wait even though you know that this may result in your subsequent death My life is my foes debt.In this scene you at last find love and react to Juliet with intense physical affection, you forget Rosaline easily; and you are aware of your about-turn in your feelings. Did my heart love till now? You regard Juliet in this scene as holy, and your love for her as a good force; and indeed, from Lord Capulet’s comments and your language we learn that you Romeo have a virtuous reputation, your intentions are honourable towards Juliet.Zoe you are playing the role of Juliet and to play this part successfully you need to show that you are a dutiful daughter who obeys their parent’s instructions. However, after you meet Romeo you become more independent. You are a strong character, practical and down to earth. You even suggest marriage to Romeo on the first night hinting of what is to happen later if he be married, my grave is like to be my marriage bed. As you speak in a sombre mood you imagine death as your bridegroom hinting of the tragic result to come. It is this image of death marrying Juliet that keeps recurring throughout the play. Indeed, it is as you are preparing for your marriage to Paris that you ‘die’. You refuse to be impressed by Romeo’s clever, artificial love poetry and insist on him speaking from his heart you do wrong your hand too much.You are strong willed and are willing to risk everything in order to be with Romeo. You sit facing each other and as Romeo speaks and holds your hand you are not taken in by his words For saints have hands that pilgrims’hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers’kiss. These feelings continue as he kisses you, although you argue against his intentions, you are willing, and you enjoy the kiss Then have my lips the sin that they have took. But your kiss is interrupted by Nurse, who calls you away. Your last line to Romeo is you kiss by th’book suggesting that Romeo kisses perfectly like an expert lover, but your words also mean that his kiss is for you artificial, learned from a book and without any real emotion or feeling for you.When the feast draws to a close and the guests begin to leave you wish to know with whom you have fallen in love with. You hide your real intentions from the Nurse as you ask the names of two other men before Romeo: What is yond gentleman? and What’s he that now is going out of door? You fear that Romeo is married, but when you learn the real truth, it is even more horrible: My only love, sprung from my only hate! You do not renounce your feelings for him and remain loyal to your affection for Romeo. You continue to love him Too early seen unknown, and known too late. This results in the forthcoming secrecy about your marriage, the need for potion and the scene, which takes place at the crypt for you to escape your marriage to Paris. At the end of this scene you are swept away by the Nurse and return to your quarters.Act one scene five is a very important scene in the play Romeo and Juliet because the scene is full of hints that the course of true love will not run smoothly between these two young people. The romance between them begins in this scene and we immediately see the potential for violence in Tybalt’s aggression and threats, which begin the events and the move towards tragedy and death.Indeed, Romeo’s words before the party tells of this overwhelming sense of destiny and foreboding which is set in motion during the party, as he looks uneasily into the future with a premonition of death. I fear too early for my mind misgives some consequence yet hanging in the stars. His tone is ominous and is filled with a sense of foreboding. He uses legal language prophesying that his premature (untimely) death will result from what begins tonight (date) by going to the Capulets feast. His life he says will be the penalty (forfeit) he must pay when the time is up (expire the term).Romeo’s words when he finds out just who the attractive young woman is shows his dismay that Juliet is a Capulet Ay, so I fear, the more is my unrest? As the party ends, Juliet too feels a similar feeling of foreboding on learning Romeo’s name. She realises that she too has fallen in love with one of her family’s hated enemies. It is clear that from its first appearance in the play, the love between Romeo and Juliet is marked out not only as exceptional but also as doomed both perfect and at the mercy of the world or their respective families. When Juliet says Prodigious birth of love it is to me that I must love a loathed enemy, her words for us define this important moment in the play in terms of love, fate, destiny, birth and finally death.The scene builds on Romeo’s last two lines deepening the note of foreboding the more is my unrest. The audience is made painfully aware that although this scene is a crucial one as it begins their romance, it also includes the hostility and resentment that surrounds the two families and the figures of Romeo and Juliet. Their first encounter mixed with Tybalt’s aggression shows us clearly that act one scene five of Romeo and Juliet is fraught with the potential for tragedy as the events begin which lead to their unfortunate deaths in the final part of the play.

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