Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Romeo and Juliet - The Australian Ballet

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona (where we lay our scene),
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife..
The fearful passage of their death-marked love,
And the continuance of their parent’s rage,
Which but their children’s end nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

Ruby and I and two of our other friends went to see the Australian Ballet Performance of Romeo and Juliet. It is one of Ruby and my most favourite stories, so the chance do see it performed through dance excited us immensely. 
Overall, the performance was visually stunning; the first half was imaculatly staged, (the balcony scene!!!!)dresses and skirts that flowed like water, spiky capes for the Capulets and tights(tight tights!!!) everywhere. Hooray! The ballroom scene gave me shivers, I loved everything about that; the choreography, the costumes, the music. Lana Jones, who played Juliet, was such a beautiful dancer, I could watch her for hours and hours. Especially in the balcony scene. I'm gonna keep mentioining it because ity favourite. IT WAS SO FREAKING MAGICAL!!!

However, there was a lot of inconsistency with the actual setting of the performance, which we all found a little confusing; the opening act was obviously set in around the time that Shakespeare intended, with swords and royalty and all that. But then later on Nurse delivers a message to Romeo on a pretty modern looking bicycle. Friar Lawrence and his monks are replaced with a Holy Man and Hari Krishnas (which I actually really liked, it was a different take on the religious element that worked really well within story), but at the start of the second act they were all in India (?!?!?!) The costumes and the setting were gorgeous, but this act also included a pretty pivotal scene in which *SPOILER ALERT* Tybalt kills Mercutio and then Romeo kills Tybalt to avenge his best friend. This is usually a very affecting part of the story, and is the catalyst for the rest of the tragedy to unfold, but I found it hard to feel the full emotion of this sequence because I was still trying to figure out why the fuck they were in India. We decided that perhaps the director was trying to convey the idea that the story of Romeo and Juliet reverberates throughout the world and can be translated into all languages, countries and cultures, but personally I think it would have worked better if they stopped at the Hari Krishnas. But that's just me.

But on the whole I enjoyed it immensely, the season runs till the 24th of September at the Melbourne Arts Center. It's not exactly cheap, but the richness of the performance certainly makes up for that.

Whilst writing this post, I was listening to the stream of Tori Amos new album 'Night of Hunters', and the final song struck me as very appropriate for this particular story. That and I can't get the chorus out of my head.

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