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Romeo And Juliet - gcse english coursework - production notes

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet coursework, production notes. The aims of this essay are firstly to illustrate my own ideas and concepts as to how a selection of extracts from scenes in Romeo and Juliet should be produced, as well as proceeding to critically compare my own vision of the scenes production against that of Baz Luhrmann, the director of a modern take on Shakespeare's classic love story. Before I can do that effectively however, a brief overview of Romeo and Juliet must be given. The prologue of the play is essentially an introduction, and that will therefore be my source: Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star cross'd lovers take their life; Whole misadventured piteous overthrows Do with their death bury their parents' strife. The fearful passage of their death mark'd love, And the continuance of their parents' rage, Which, but their children's end, nought could remove The first of the extracts I will discuss is to be found in Scene I.i, line 46-47: Sampson: No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir. This extract is taken from the first act of the first scene, which is set in a public place, the middle of Verona, the city in which the story is based. This particular scene finds servants from the houses of Capulet and Montague quarrelling in the street, not a rare occurrence, as hinted in the prologue. I perceive an immediate sense of irony through Shakespeare's choice of name for this man, a servant from the house of Montague, Sampson. Biblically Sampson was one of the strongest men ever to have lived, yet in this scene, the attitude and personality of the man sharing his great name comes across as terribly weak and incredibly irresolute. ...read more.

Middle

His was set in a Garage, with the two families alone, save the attendant in the shop, a couple of people in cars and the general traffic rolling past outside. I do not like this particular aspect of the scene, and whilst the aspect of confrontation is retained, I do not feel any sense that it is really affecting the public with this layout, at least not in the earlier stages of the scene. What I do like is the symbolism incorporated in the location; an explosive situation taking place in a location that could, and does literally explode. Another aspect that differs greatly to my own adaptation is the costume. The Montague's wear casual, immature flowered shirts, whilst the Capulet's are dressed in all black, and possess a very Hispanic feel. I love the way that Baz Luhrmann has the Capulet's dressed as part of his modern adaptation. The Hispanic appearances give a feel reminiscent of Latino gangs, a particularly poignant concept in the US, where this film was mainly marketed, because of all the recent trouble they have had with such organisations. However, whilst I feel the contrast between the two houses is effective in his film and certainly an adaptation that was worth including considering his audience, Americans, it was certainly not something that I wished to accomplish through my own production. The sense of immaturity about the Montague's is increased massively whenever Sampson does or says anything. The biting of his thumb is done in a childish manner, and when he speaks the extract chosen, it is with no resolution, and no belief. He sounds terrified when he speaks the words, and is half running away as he speaks. This again is a very different image of the two families compared to what I wished to create. Through my own production of this scene I wanted to pick out the many similarities between the two families, whereas in this production the director has gone for a completely different approach and highlighted the differences. ...read more.

Conclusion

I would have some words accentuated, for example the word 'proof' should be spoken with more resolve, as should the word 'twenty'. The reason that these words should be uttered with more conviction is that these are the words that make up the reassurance in this sentence. Exaggerating the words such as 'peril' and 'swords' would not make sense as Romeo is trying to encourage Juliet, not dissuade her by installing dire images in her head. Juliet will be positioned on the balcony for much of the scene, and an element of distracted pacing will be the only form of real movement. This will serve to show how restless she is, how much she loves Romeo, but also that she is being prudent and trying to slow things down by distracting her mind she will look up to the heavens, both at times when Romeo says something particularly strong or romantic 'look thou...enmity', and also when she has to try particularly hard to resist, and think of more questions to counter his resounding argument for love. Romeo on the other hand will stay rooted to the spot from the moment he reveals himself to Juliet, staring into her eyes as if transfixed, not even breaking gaze to speak. This will show his compassion towards her, and also that he wants to spend the rest of his days with Juliet. I believe the skills Shakespeare possessed in stagecraft come to the light very strongly through this scene in particular. The fact that Juliet is up high, and Romeo at her feet begging her to admit she loves him is symbolic of the scene as a whole; with Juliet refusing to give too much away she is in control, up high, and with Romeo blindly wishing and desperately stringing together reasons they should love in the lower position. This is another aspect of the play which I believe is lost when, like Baz Luhrmann you adapt such key scenes into your own visions; you lose the vision of the greatest playwright there ever was. ...read more.

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