But Soft, What?

Esther Sorg

Romeo and Juliet is my favorite Shakespeare play. Mostly because my favorite Shakespeare character lives in this play (Mercutio), but also because I thoroughly enjoy all of the different tropes in play during this… play. Tragedy, comedy, “””romance”””, and The Black Death are just a few of the thematic elements that I enjoy in my theater. This was also the only play we saw in Stratford that I had ever seen in any form (Romeo et Juliette, French musical, to be specific). I had never seen a stage performance (or movie performance) of any of the other shows, but R&J, I had some experience with. So I had Expectations.

It was incredible. Sara Farb and Antoine Yared as Juliet and Romeo were electric. They never stopped moving. Farb was a wild child. I have never seen a Juliet so physically active. She was literally jumping all over the stage. It was fantastic. She shouted a lot, too, making her both the most active and the loudest Juliet I have ever seen. Yared was a sensitive Romeo who swanned and then swooned all over the stage. He was also running around, but his activeness was geared more towards sprawling all over the place and then like, rolling. He and Farb seemed to have a great time together. Their chemistry was playful and giggly rather than heated passion, and it really worked for the rest of the play. Director Scott Wentworth’s focus was on the young people committing suicide rather than on the young people falling in love, so having them be happy and carefree before sending them off to die made the show even more tragic than usual.

But it was funny! So funny. I laughed through pretty much the entire first act because all of the moments I never laugh at when reading the play are suddenly side-splitting when they’re being acted out. Mercutio (Evan Builung) stole the scene for me whenever he appeared onstage, but he wasn’t even the funniest character. Farb and Yared were just so… teen-aged. It was hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time.

Expectations, met. I’d totally go see it again.