When performing a work of Shakespeare such as Romeo and Juliet, it is essential to not only stay true to the play’s original intent, but also remain unique among thousands of other adaptations. Luckily, Wooden O’s recent production of the tragedy stuck out as a great option for both newcomers and experienced viewers of Shakespearean theatre.
Due to the park setting, the set was sparse, but managed not detract from the action at hand. The blocking was expertly done so that audiences could clearly see and appreciate all of the action. In my seat on the very left side of the performance, I still managed to view each of the thrilling sword fights.
Tone however, proved to be the primary issue with this interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. Director Leah Adcock-Starr seemed to have more of a knack for getting a brilliant comedic performance rather than a dramatic one.
This is especially clear in the famous balcony scene, which was played mostly for laughs. When such a moment has been done to death, it is understandable to change aspects of it in order to retain a unique voice. However, by doing so in a more comedic tone, it detracted from the validity of Romeo and Juliet’s love. Thus, when scenes arose where the audience really had to care about their plight, it seemed unearned.
Despite these issues, the performances brought forth from this direction were truly wonderful. It would be hard to sell this show if the cast weren’t so talented. Both the comedic and dramatic scenes were performed well, they just seemed to come from two very different ways of telling this story.
I would recommend this show for those who want to see a well-adapted Shakespearean play, performed by a very talented cast. While the story is almost universally known, Wooden O manages to bring something new that is worth seeing.
Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare. Wooden O, Free Shakespeare in the Park. July 11, 2019 till August 11, 2019. Check Location: https://www.seattleshakespeare.org/shows/romeo-and-juliet-2019/