TNT THEATRE BRITAIN presents
ROMEO AND JULIET
Touring Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xian, Ningbo and Hangzhou
TNT explores the depths of this tragedy and its central conflict between love and death, Eros and Thanatos. The setting is baroque Italy, the Verona and Venice of Casanova, Don Juan and Vivaldi.
"West Side Story" and Leonardo di Caprio's recent gangster version cast long shadows on this delicate play. But this is not a play about poor urban street fighters, nor a play about racial conflict. The Capulets and Montagues are of the same caste and share the same values. Their retainers fight on the streets. Shakespeare is criticising their joint values, which are those of powerful families. This is, of course, the stuff of tragedy: when the mighty sin the state trembles. The "star crossed lovers" deaths expose the follies of the vicious clan warfare that their families perpetuate. Those families are reformed and reconciled. None of this makes any sense if Romeo is some broke and hip street kid. The Montagues and Capulets are two sides of the same coin.
They are also Italian. And so one starting point of our production is to stay with Shakespeare's torrid Latin setting. We choose to locate the production in Baroque Italy - the world of Casanova, Don Juan, Vivaldi and Bernini Italy, where clan violence, dignity, aristocracy, Catholicism, arranged marriages and chaste love are all imaginable. A world where the symbolic becomes real is a myriad statues and paintings that flit between love and death - Eros and Thanatos - the tension at the heart of this bloody romance.
The play is highly stylised, masked balls and ritual violence form set pieces. We employed stylised choreography and once again commission a live musical score from a leading composer. While establishing a rich theatrical environment we also strive to maintain a shakespearian style that relies on the actor's skills and audience's imagination. "Romeo and Juliet" is one of the most popular plays ever written, we aim to present it with its poetry and romance intact, while delivering a powerful, stylised drama.