Romeo and Juliet walking into eternity | Daily News

Romeo and Juliet walking into eternity

A version of Romeo and Juliet with Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta at the Royal Albert Hall, London
A version of Romeo and Juliet with Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta at the Royal Albert Hall, London

The greatest and most famous love story ever to have been written was Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare. This immortal love story will go on and on unchallenged, unchanged with its brilliant dialogue. Acted, danced and dramatized, boarded on all international stages, became the first choice of any dramatist, choreographer with talented young stars breathing love into the stellar roles of the star-crossed lovers. It was and is the dream of aspiring young stars to enact the roles of the young and famous lovers for which they prepare for years on.

Shakespeare is an abundant writer but at times to the point of excesses, inclined to deduce that he lacked self-control but the genius ran away with him apparent in many of his tragedies like Hamlet, Othello, Romeo and Juliet etc. The irrefutable evidence with all the marks of chiseling the morals found in such characters are so wide and accurate, Shakespeare's work does not contain theory but an illumination dictum removed from emphasis and flatness. May be at times, he had reasons to exercise over caprice and fancy but there again it was limited. He was a master unto himself on wings of impetuous flights borne on wings of tempest and whirlwind passion. It gave him the smoothness to write such a tragedy as Romeo and Juliet.

Who is the classical critic who would not subscribe to this precept which allowed the Bard give this regulating power for wisdom that explain the harmony with which he infused each of his plays. In no way blind to the faults of the stage of his day where boys impersonated all female characters including Juliet with pathetic scenes, he was no doubt pained by the declamations of tragic actors in tatters of passion. The naked stage was a nightmare to him because his characters and places are so closely associated that they cannot be separated. The name of Juliet at once calls up the Capulet's ballroom or the moonlit balcony or the tomb in which she lay before she finally died. He counted on the facile imagination of his audience to conjure up what he could not reproduce and help them with the swift descriptions introduced in his dialogue. And the story continues.

After a brawl between the rival families of Montagues and Capulets both alike in dignity, the Prince threatens with death anyone who disturb the streets again. Romeo, Montague's heir masked at a Capulet dance, becomes infatuated with Capulet's daughter, Juliet. From the garden he overhears her avowal as she stands on her balcony and their love scene follows.

Next afternoon Friar Lawrence marries them. When Romeo refuse to fight with Tybalt who is a passionate Capulet (presently his cousin by marriage) the gallant Mercutio takes the challenge himself. He is killed by mischance and Romeo enraged kills Tybalt. In his absence and the Prince banishes him but the Friar tells him to stay the night with Juliet and wait in Mantua until recall is possible. When Juliet's father insists that she will marry a young nobleman Paris, she gets no help from her mother or her nurse. The Friar gives her an opiate to take on the following night that will put her in a death-like trance for two and forty hours. She will be laid in the Capulet's vault and when she wakes, Romeo will be there. Juliet is duly placed in the vault as dead but the Friar's message to Mantua is miscarried, hearing only of Juliet's death. Romeo hastens to the tomb at night and is surprised by Paris whom he kills in the vault and he drinks the poison he has bought from a Mantuan apothecary and dies by Juliet's side. She wakes as the desperate Friar enters and on seeing Romeo dead, she stabs herself The Prince and the families are roused over the bodies of their children. Capulets and Montagues are reconciled and the Prince closes the play, 'For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo'


Hundred of versions in different countries have been staged ever since its first debut in 1744. One such version produced by the English National Ballet of late with the beautiful Tamara Rojo as Juliet and the dashing young Carlos Acosta as Romeo at the Royal Albert Hall, stunned me. From the lavish masked ball that brings together the two rival families with dangerous consequences in the seductive intimacy of forbidden love, no other ballet so intensely portrayed the Bard's tragedy of the star-crossed lovers. Set among the hustle and bustle of street fighting and rivalry of Renaissance Verona with all its decadent richness and grandeur and in the flickering shadows of candlelit tomb the loss and longing of the heart wrenching final scene is only made powerful by the passion of the lovers themselves.


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