Romeo and Juliet Performance

We had our first performance of Romeo and Juliet today.  It went well.  In fact, by the standards of the other teachers who brought classes to see it, it was a great performance of students of this young age that I work with.  Many students also stopped by to congratulate me (us) on a job well done.  We kept a nice tight performance and had the smoothest set of set changes we had run so far.  The famous balcony scene was pretty solid.  Tybalt and Mercutio have really fine tuned their deaths and Romeo is really bringing passion to most of his scenes.  Even the Friar has made his scenes a lot more interesting.  Now, there was also a lot of inappropriate laughter in all the wrong places and dead silence in all the other spots…but my audience was not ideal for the actor.  In this particular instance, we were performing for the freshmen to try and get an experience of Shakespeare that was different than they were expecting and HOPEFULLY better than they thought it could possibly be.  Based on the teacher’s impressions, we did raise the level of expectations.

Even so…I have higher standards.  This was the best performance they had so far.  Not that it was perfect.  There were a number of minor stumbles, some set change mixups, a gun misfire, and some odd projection problems.  These are hoped against, but often expected in the first performance.  In addition, we had two performances today and the first one was at 8:45 a.m.  That is rough.  It was tough to get them up and motivated for the morning performance and then the second performance after lunch was lethargic.

Regardless of those things, I don’t know if I’ve ever been happy with the first performance.  I am always striving for better and I hold my young actors to that standard as well.  Often, I am accused of being too critical or impossible in my beliefs, but I still believe that my students benefit from this.  It’s not simply that I hold the standard high and keep telling them to jump higher.  I tell them that I know they can reach it if they find their focus and bring the proper energy to the performance.  So, I’m always striving for better.

Today’s performances were adequate.  I hope that we will continue to get better as the week goes on.  I don’t imagine I’ll direct another Shakespeare play for a few years, so I want the memory of this one to be good.  I think it will be, but I’ve got to keep pushing.  I don’t know what else to do.

I am the language lover and these are my thoughts.


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