What would make Act 1: Scene V an effective piece of drama
Romeo and Juliet is the story of two teenagers who fall in love with the ‘wrong’ person. They are from two different families that have a severe hatred for each other. Act 1: Scene V is a key scene in Romeo and Juliet as it is important to the development of the storyline. In this scene, Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time, unaware that they are from families with a long-standing feud, beginning their fatal love for one another. This scene is also very important because
Romeo and Juliet are only present together in 4 other scenes, the balcony scene, the wedding scene, the opening of Act 3, scene 5 and Act 5, scene 3, but Romeo kills himself before Juliet wakes up. As the director of this scene, I will be making a set of notes that should enable the scene to be presented as an effective piece of drama. They will include staging, lighting, setting and colour, use of music, costume and also notes to the actors. Act 1: Scene V takes place at a Grand masked Ball that Old Capulet is holding in Verona for his daughter, Juliet to meet Paris.
The setting is very important here as it is setting the tone of class for an audience. By holding this party for the Capulet’s, Old Capulet is showing that although he is acting like there is no rivalry, there is clearly a competition and rivalry over which family is the most lavish or rich. The scene starts with the servants setting up. The tone with which they speak should be noticeably different to that of the Capulet’s. They should be very respectful to the house but also be working, talking and moving with jealousy because they are the servants and not the guests.
At this point the stage should be dimly lit to show the unimportance of the servants and there should be no music. They would wear dark colours, black and brown, and look smart but not rich. The lights should go up on the stage to show a brightly decorated room, lots of gold candle holders and rich looking food on the tables. To show the importance and money of the Capulet mansion colours such as gold and dark red should be used. Old Capulet would enter the stage from a large and extravagant staircase in the middle of the stage to show his power over the party and its guests.
The actor playing Old Capulet needs to be able to grab the attention of a room with ease, and should also look like he has enjoyed many fine and rich meals and drinks. The lighting in this scene should be very strong and powerful. Different shades of a colour can be used to create a different intensity of emotion. For example a pinkish red would suggest a flirtation or a small romance, whereas a deep striking red would suggest more passionate. The music playing should be classical but still danceable to. When Romeo begins to talk to the servant he should be shown to not think himself above the servant.
This is to show more of Romeo’s character. His clothing shouldn’t distinguish him from them either. During the dancing and as Romeo and Juliet see each other the lights should fade so that there is just a spotlight on each of them. This shows that they have seen each other and only have eyes for each other. When Romeo begins his monologue his voice needs to be filled with aw and wonderment. On the line, “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! ” Juliet should be very visible through the crowds, her face bright.
All through Romeo’s monologue Juliet should be moving around socialising with the crowd, moving closer to Romeo, and looking happy yet as though she would rather be a wall flower at the party instead of the ‘star attraction’. During this Juliet should keep looking at Romeo, as though she could hear what he was saying about her. Tybalt’s hatred for anything Montague should be obvious as his voice cuts into Romeo’s. Tyblat should be dressed in dark reds and blacks with gold jewellery to show power and anger. When Tybalt says, “To strike him dead I hold it not a sin” He should be very angry, and serious at the thought of killing Romeo.
The argument between himself and Capulet should be forced and in hushed tones, as Capulet does not want his guests to see him arguing, “Well said, my hearts! ” Here he should be putting on a fake smile to show his staff that nothing is wrong. When Romeo and Juliet are talking to each other the lights should go down on all other parts of the stage leaving Romeo and Juliet to talk in private. This whole scene needs to be flirty, yet shy, in a teenage manner. Although they fall in love with one- another, it still needs to be put across that they are very young. Juliet should be dressed in white to signify her youth and innocence.
Although her costume should be simple it still needs to show the wealth of her family and reflect her family’s background. For example the dress could have small diamonds encrusted over it. The scene is said under the pretence of praying. All their lines to one another are said to be prayers, so the actor and actress playing Romeo and Juliet need to show this. They would do this by talking in hushed voices, as they would in church. When Romeo kisses Juliet it is a kiss full of love. So passion needs to be incorporated without the kiss looking too full on. As the nurse enters she needs to literally ruin the moment.
She is there to inform each of the others family. Gradually the rest of the stage would come back to light so they have visually been thrown back into the bulk of the party. When the nurse tells Romeo that Juliet is a Capulet his face should fall because he knows that it will be impossible for them to be together in peace, yet he also knows that he wouldn’t want to live without her, “O dear account! My life is my foe’s debt. ” This is showing that he holds being with Juliet as more important than his life, and that he will be eternally in debt to the Capulet’s for bringing Juliet into the world.
The actress should ask about the men as if she’s not really interested in them, but just wants to know who they are. Juliet is a lot craftier when finding out who Romeo is, “Juliet: Come hither, nurse. What is yond gentleman? Nurse: The son and heir of old Tiberio. Juliet: What’s he that now is going out of door? Nurse: Marry, that I think be young Petruchio. ” Juliet asks about two other men, feigning interest, before asking about Romeo so the nurse won’t find out. This suggests that Juliet already has a suspicion that her and Romeo will not be allowed to be together.
The nurse tells Juliet, His name is Romeo, and a Montague; The only son of your great enemy. ” Twice in the one sentence does the nurse try to put Juliet off. First by telling her he’s a Montague, and then by making her feel guilty by calling him ‘her’ great enemy. Juliet’s response to this is something she says to herself to remind herself of the predicament she is in, “My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me, That I must love a loathed enemy” This speech is full of despair; Juliet is upset that she should be the chosen one to fall in love with Romeo.
The nurse hears Juliet’s speech but Juliet dismisses it as a rhyme she learnt off one of the guests. As Juliet and the nurse exit the stage the lights need to go down. In staging Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, I think lighting and colours are the most important factor. Romeo and Juliet don’t speak to each other that much therefore emotions need to be expressed across a stage. The importance of this scene needs to be evident; the scene sets the foundations for their love and for Tybalt’s anger at being humiliated by Old Capulet to want to get even with Romeo, an act which almost kills him.