There isn’t really any such thing as a “spoiler” in a well-known story, but you might want to read this post after you see the show, so that its impact isn’t diminished by anticipation.
If you know the play well, or have seen other productions, you will certainly notice a couple of things missing or changed in our version–over and above the material cut according to the criteria given in Dramaturgy part 1.
- Shakespeare calls for a “Chorus” to speak the opening speech. But he abandons that convention after the first act and Chorus disappears. With another tip of the hat to Larry Life’s 1976 production, I severely edited the prologue and gave the lines to Friar Lawrence, who also ends the play. (The final quatrain in Shakespeare’s version is spoken by the Prince. But I find it more emotionally satisfying coming from the Friar.)
2. The Capulet servant in Act I, Scene 1 is supposed to be called Samson. But he (and Gregory) disappear, never to be seen again. However, Peter has a recurring small role as the clownish, illiterate servant, following the Nurse around, delivering invitations for Capulet, etc. And in the scene in which Mercutio teases the Nurse, Peter protests that he is always ready to fight “if the law be on my side”…which was a primary concern for the servant in Scene 1. Convinced therefore, that Samson is actually Peter, I made the change.
3. Regarding swords: renting swords was remarkably easy–especially because our friends at Fire & Light had just done The Three Musketeers and had exactly what we needed! We transferred their rental agreement with weaponsofchoice.com to afO. However, sword sheaths are very tricky to fit and expensive to rent. We ended up just having the actors tuck their swords into belts. This is fine as long as the actor can keep a hand on the hilt in order to keep the sword from sticking out behind and potentially stabbing an audience member. Therefore, though most actors should have been carrying weapons most of the time, we limited to absolute need.
I did not want Romeo carrying a sword at his wedding. He goes directly from there to the fight with Tybalt, so we solved it this way: