at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
In Director Laird Williamson vision, Romeo and Juliet is a farcical melodramatic moral play filled with bawdy clowns. It’s a slapstick tragedy, a category underrepresented on modern stage. The script’s only fault is the pesky obvious rhymes and flowery language that can be best gotten through in a quick pace at high volume.
Williamson has ordered up so many pelvic thrusts for the hormonal young men that the show is unsuitable for school tours. What in other productions comes off as witty sexual innuendo, Williamson unmasks as full-on, lowest-common-denominator sleazy talk. He gets the audience giggling at the sex, tittering at the over-wrought emotions, and focused on the comic characters of nurse, friar, and apothecary. ( Collapse )
So, what do I really think? This R&J was so bad that I feel angry at the director. He robbed a great play of its meaning, ignored its poetry, and paid no attention to cohesion along the way. This is a production unworthy of a professional theater company.