LIVE: Daniela Varon’s “Romeo and Juliet” a Mashup at Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]
Some familiar stories can be made new though theatrical innovations. Especially those written by the masters of the form: Shakespeare, Ibsen and Chekhov. This summer you will find one of the most innovative Romeo and Juliet‘s in years at Shakespeare & Company. Much of it is quite wonderful. But it also derails now and then.
The unwilling participants in this experiment are Romeo and Juliet themselves. Wrenched from the relative comfort of sixteenth century Verona, their costumes bleached out in most scenes to ghostly white, director Daniela Varon takes a young cast on an amazing journey into her personal imagination.
Much of it works brilliantly as theatre, but some of the director’s creative touches border on the absurd, or simply don’t work. At the end, for example, Romeo finds Juliet like all the other corpses in the tomb, sitting upright. He takes his own poison, and promptly dies, also sitting upright. This strains the notion of “suspending disbelief” the contract that audiences make with themselves to enjoy a play.