view from the hill

A look at the elements and events that come into view from where I'm standing...
... the stuff that matters in this life. Some flicker and are gone in a matter of hours
only to live in memory, others become life long travelling companions, never far from reach.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

First Love

June 15th, 2007
Tonight we saw Romeo and Juliet at the Delacourt Theatre in Central Park, and, shock of shocks, in my headlong rush into all things Shakespeare, this is actually the first time seeing Romeo and Juliet on stage. rj2Sure, I've seen Baz's film a gazillion times, Shakespeare in Love many times, read (most of) the play, and seen tons of scenes preformed here and there, but after tonight there's now one less gaping hole in my education.

Diving in to a Shakespeare play is always like exotic travel. It's a different country every time, each with it's own language, history and unique peoples. There's culture shock and foreign mannerisms to get used to, thickets of words that tangle and tear, soaring vistas and stews of emotions. Sitting in the theatre tonight seeing the entire play done so well, I finally visited a foreign land that up till now I'd only read about.

rj1The lines flowed off the tongues of the actors, the stage was magnificent - a rotating circle that brought action into the foreground or drew it back away from the audience - and to see the whole thing framed by the trees of Central Park, the turtle pond and the Belvedere castle beyond blew out any imagined walls of the theatre and gave the night even more scale. The balcony scene was a reflective blue shimmering off the water of the circular pool that made up the center of the stage. With the stars above and the orange glow of Manhattan reflecting off the clouds, the most famous of magical scenes was made all the more magical.

The play was magnificent and epic, so much more than I expected. It starts out like Cinderella and ends up a Hamlet. Turns out Bill Shakes knows how to write, and I can see why this one’s got staying power.

So, I have now visited the continent that is Romeo and Juliet and my life is that much more rich because of it. I'm sure I'll measure all future productions against this one - there’s nothing like first love. Delacourt, you've set the bar pretty high.


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