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Shakespeare's balcony scene is renowned throughout the world. Given the restrictions of the Globe Theatre, How might Shakespeare have directed this scene to appeal to his whole audience?

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Introduction

Shakespeare created many plays including tragedies and comedies, with his main themes of love, death and disguise. They appear in some of his most famous works, such as"Twelfth Night", "Romeo and Juliet" and "Much Ado About Nothing." The Globe Theatre was rebuilt as an authentic replicate in 1995. Even today, Shakespeare's plays are performed there and the theatre due to its accuracy to the original structure poses many restrictions on the direction of a play. However, "the show must go on," and the building, with its theatrical happenings, attracts many people from around the world who take an interest in British theatre and history. Romeo and Juliet is the story of two "star crossed lovers" whose fate is explained from the start of the play in the prologue. Their love is forbidden and, after rebelling, their families are left to deal with the consequences. The play is studied and performed, as well as read all over the world . It has been made into a film by the Australian director Baz Luhrman and the Italian director Franco Zeffirelli, showing that not just the British appreciate Shakespeare's work. Every director brings their own ideas to the play, including: lighting and costume, to help set the scene or to represent the characters emotions. The staging also varies from director to director, to fit in with their opinion of the expression of the words. ...read more.

Middle

From proclaiming her love with flowing speech (little punctuation) the actions should also flow simply. Once interrupted by the nurse, the language becomes abrupt and the actions echo the language. To create the sense of panic, as suggested by the text, Juliet should turn away and back to Romeo as though she is torn between reality and her love. The restrictions of the balcony mean Juliet is unable to move over a wide space, however her actions must then become amplified for the audience. By doing this they are able to interact with the emotions on the stage. Shakespeare would have directed and even acted in the Globe theatre meaning he would have known of its limitations because of this, writing the play he would have been aware of how the actors would need to emote for the emotions to be clear. Although having few props, the stage itself gives space for the actors to work in. In the scene the pillars' can be used to create new perspectives and vistas to balance out the scene. Once Romeo is left pondering the previous events, use of the stage keeps the audience focused on him. A variety of heights is also a way of keeping the audience's interest when Romeo exclaims: "O blessed, blessed night." This relates back to Juliet being an angel by the fact that she is blessed or on par with the angels. ...read more.

Conclusion

By knowing the size, shape and pillar positionings, he could direct, act and write to conquer the restrictions. As his writing was for the theatre where he would perform and direct, his stage directions are implied rather than stated in the text. With the short sentences, broken with punctuation he suggested the mood is panicked, much like the look of the text. This method meant that the restrictions were dealt with more easily on the stage because there wasn't a set idea, it was just the interpretation (with the limitations in mind) of how the director would play it, whether it was Shakespeare or not. Hints from the dialogue about control suggest the positions of the characters to exaggerate the importance of the dominant character. Having Juliet in control means Romeo wouldn't wander to far from her whilst in her presence. Actions flow naturally from the actors' own interpretation of their character's feelings with the different emotions shown in the language. To conclude Shakespeare used his text to portray the emotions he wanted to achieve. Actions and stage positionings are inferred from in the text. Finally not having set stage directions meant parts could be changed to work around any problems the theatre may have presented. Frankie Mapes M7 Shakespeare cw Thursday 26th February 2009 Shakespeare's balcony scene (Act 2 Scene 2 line 133-141 & 182-191) is renowned throughout the world. Given the restrictions of the Globe Theatre, How might Shakespeare have directed this scene to appeal to his whole audience? ...read more.

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