Who does not know the story of Romeo & Juliet? Countless are the different interpretations and takes on this classic play of forbidden love. And however disguised, we always recognize the two suffering lovers torn between backgrounds in a large family dispute.
Sometimes the family dispute is transformed into racial differences, sometimes age, but regardless of what twist is put on the original story, Romeo & Juliet really is the quintessential story of love that would never be.
Director Paul Stebbings, however, seemed more interested in portraying the story in a way that Shakespeare, in his time, would have been proud to call his own. With clever wit, that can really only be achieved through performing a Shakespeare play in its original language, the actors of The New Theatre (TNT) and the American Drama Group Europe (ADGE) managed to create an air of intrigue supported by the natural milieu of the Drottningholm Palace Park.
By clever use of the baroque garden the group managed to create a convincing version of Shakespeare´s play with the aide of few simple props and by using the existing park as their scenography. This was in fact so well done, that it at times seemed as though it had been planned, all along.
One aspect that really seemed paramount to this successful interpretation was the integration of period music from the Elizabethan era. The actors were not only accompanied by the beautiful instrumental arrangements of John Kenny, but they did also sing, most convincingly, songs that would have been heard in plays in the time of Shakespeare.
Romeo & Juliet is TNT and ADGE´s Castle Tour project, where they tour with a theater production to different castles around Europe and perform in a vast variety of different settings. And the wedding between the traditional air of the production and the Palace Park at Drottningholm is really a successful one. With some aspects of commedia dell´arte, the ensemble also made clever use of masks and repeated, symbolic movement, to put fourth the play with ease.
However it was not entirely easy to find one´s way to the stage as there were very poor directions, once at Drottningholm, to find the spot for the temporary stage. And this is not the only administrative inertia that really hampered the size of the audience that would have been bigger had the play been better advertised.
And it truly is a pity that there wasn´t a greater attendance, because if there is something that we in Stockholm are not spoiled with, it is English plays performed in its original language. Let´s hope that this will change in the future.