I was at Sunday evening's performance of Romeo & Juliet, part of the Dublin Shakespeare Festival in Trinity. Having booked through DU Players (the drama society) website, I was a little disappointed to discover that they were not the actors. But the GB Theatre Company were equal to the task and performed on a traditional stage, with temporary grandstands set up in Front Square. As it got dark, lanterns were brought out by the actors. The props and stage were minimal, in true Shakespearian style and the company was small enough that actors doubled up for some characters. They were a fine ensemble cast, and worked within the old English to remind the audience how funny a play Romeo & Juliet is. When you read it at school for your Junior Cert, it's difficult to find the right rhythm and pacing. I remember most of the humour passing by the vast majority of my schoolmates and indeed a lot of it is of a sexual nature that 14 years olds won't get. There was some interesting editorial work done on the play. While nearly all the dialogue was intact, minor parts like valets and pages were instead said by more involved characters and a couple of incidental scenes were cut - no real loss to the story, of course. A lovely addition was some gregorian-chant style hymns sung off stage by the company not on stage during parts of the play. Some of the actors also played some (presumably) Elizabethan music while the audience were getting settled and again during the performance to good effect.
The performance was marred for me by the extreme turn of weather, which had me looking to the stars to see if somehow we were now in the wintery Southern hemisphere. The temperature was a tiny 8 degrees with quite a windchill. I wore my winter jacket and a hat for the whole performance, other people had blankets. I was sorry to see a good number of people leave during the second half, presumably due to cold and not boredom! A nice touch, which is in place every night, is the free tea and coffee on offer in the intermission, provided by Lemon.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodbye til it be morrow is just one of the many famous lines you'll get to hear if you take the time to watch this nicely produced show, which runs a few more times during the next week, along with Twelfth Night, which Dave will be reviewing shortly.