"Astonishing... Beautiful final scene gets to the heart of the earlier play's tragedy (R&J) by way of a profound strategy echoing a line from the later play (Hamlet): the rest is silence." Critic's Choice, Chicago Reader (Tony Adler) - more
"Exquisite. . . watching the needless, heedless deaths play out in quicksilver silence is a rash and sudden lightning bolt to the gut." Time-Out, Chicago (Kris Vire) - more
". . . an unforgettable vision of the world's most famous duo. Must see show." - Centerstage, Chicago (B. Smigasiewicz) - more
Is this a story about love or about hatred? If it is about love, it is certainly not about romantic love; for Romeo and Juliet live in a cruel, menacing, throat-cutting world. Terrible street fights. Brawls. Rampages. Beatings. Banishments. Corpses. Destruction. Whole scale of violence.
In the middle of hatred, love is born. Within hostility lovers are caught in a web of contradiction. Love that gives meaning to the disfigured world. A challenge? A protest, perhaps?
Romeo and Juiet's love is expressed with overwhelming physical force. That's how much it takes them to reach a moment of happiness.
This is not romantic.
Montague's and Capulet world is defined by hatred. They nurture it as something delicate and precious. Hatred is their tradition. It's what they believe defines them. To be different from the other, to negate the other (family), means to have identity. Never mind that they themselves have forgotten why they hate each other. Nations fight wars over traditions they themselves don't understand. Values are defined by tradition. Or religion. Or economy. Or, whatever is attached to our egos.
Why, in violent situations, are young people always sacrificed first? Why are kids sent to fight conflicts they don't understand? Manipulated. Used. Thrown away. And then glorified as "lost generation." Of course, it all ends with the opposing parties building a monument to dead youth. That's how we kill our future. Just as it happens in life. Indeed, " ... there is no sadder tale on the face of the earth!" And nobody tells it better than Shakespeare.
zdj - August 8, 2007