Romeo and Juliet at the Verona Institute.

Romeo and Juliet Without Words

Posted by Speakeasy News > Tuesday 19 March 2024 > Shine Bright Lycée What's On

British choreographer Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures pride themselves in finding new ways of "telling stories without words". In Romeo and Juliet, Bourne has taken one of the best-known words in the English language and transformed the familiar story in a reinvention which plays on the dystopian elements of the original script.

Bourne is best known for his 1995 staging of Swan Lake with an all-male cast. He tends to take classic works, keep the classical music score, but change the setting and tweak the story.

Here, he imagines Romeo and Juliet set not in 14th century Verona, but in a slightly-in-the-future Verona Institute, an institution for disciplining young people in a society where male and female are strictly separated. In the Institute, the young inmates are  subjected to a regime of repetitive labour and medication. Romeo, son of uncaring Senator Montague arrives at the Institute and he and Juliet immediately fall in love. But Juliet is being harassed by a guard, Tybalt, who wants her affection for himself.

Despite the new setting, the production, helped by Prokofiev's rhythmical score, plunges headlong towards the tragic ending, sparing the audience none of its gory details.

There's lots of information about the production designed for classes on the New Adventures website.

This could be a good addition to your students' portfolio if you are studying West Side Story in LLCER class. See our Reading Guide for other portfolio ideas.
The ball scene.

Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet
Théâtre du Châtelet
9-28 March 2024

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