Friday, November 01, 2013
ROMEO AND JULIET with CONDOLA RASHAD and ORLANDO BLOOM
ORLANDO BLOOM AND CONDOLA RASHAD
ROMEO AND JULIET
DIRECTED BY DAVID LEVEAUX
Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad
ROMEO AND JULIET
Photo by Robert Ascroft
Romeo and Juliet on Broadway with Condola Rashad and Orlando Bloom is a great, family friendly Shakespearean Broadway show.
It begins with a bang: with terrific and energetic stage combat; and it continues with the entry of Orlando Bloom (as Romeo) on a motorcycle to screams from the audience. (They scream again later when he takes off his shirt to reveal quite a well developed upper body.)
Orlando is a movie star and Condola Rashad is a great Broadway actress. As Juliet, she conveys a spirit of youth and freshness, and with Orlando they make a convincingly loving young couple. The balcony scene is brilliantly staged and acted.
On the Balcony
ROMEO AND JULIET
Photo by Carol Rosegg
The language is clear and understandable; the production continues with fire (literally) and spirit.
The tragic climax (hopefully this is not a big spoiler) of the play seems somehow less tragic than usual, which may play well with the Broadway audience.
Geoffrey Owens, as Prince Escalus, begins the play with authority, trying to keep peace in a town hosting a notorious feud between the Capulets and Montagues; and he concludes the play as the warring families agree to reconcile after the tragic death of their children.
Indeed I found the ending of the play seemed to have more weight than usual - suggesting a parallel with current politics: I found myself hoping that the Congressmen warring on the government - with opposition to even its normal operations - would find a way to become a part of a constructive government process before some tragedy fully unfolds upon the US.
Juliet (Condola Rashad) and her family are cast with black actors and Romeo's family with white actors. However, there is no attempt to equate the war between the Capulets and Montagues with any form of racial tension. (It does help to keep track of who's who -- something that can otherwise be difficult at times in Shakespeare.)
In the play script, Juliet is perhaps 13; Romeo slightly older. And their sudden young teen crush is partly a justification for their rash and poorly considered actions: leading to their deaths by impatience. (A little waiting and everything would have sorted itself out!) Almost all productions, including this one, cast actors who are much older. Part of the reason being, of course, that it is very, very difficult to find actors capable of performing the roles of Romeo and Juliet when they are that young. Various methods of handling the age discrepancy between actors and characters have been tried over the years. In this production, both actors try to assume the personality of younger (kinda foolish) people. Orland's Romeo is very "romantic", and his head seems always in the clouds; Condola's Juliet is girlish, flirty and physically flighty, but very determined.
All in all, if not a profoundly tragic Romeo and Juliet, this is an entertaining, clear, thoughtful, energetic and enjoyable production.
SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIET - WIKIPEDIA
SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIET - THE COMPLETE TEXT (FROM MIT)
ROMEO AND JULIET - OFFICIAL SITE BROADWAY PRODUCTION
ORLANDO BLOOM - WIKIPEDIA
ORLANDO BLOOM - IMDB
CONDOLA RASHAD - WIKIPEDIA
DAVID LEVEAUX - WIKIPEDIA
ROMEO AND JULIET - ON AMAZON
ORLANDO BLOOM - ON AMAZON
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