For director Tim Carroll, Romeo and Juliet taps into a universal dream of defying the world and its compromises By Claire Mastrangelo One of Shakespeare’s most beloved tragedies will soon play out on the Festival Theatre stage in its tenth Stratford production. Directed by Tim Carroll, with Daniel Briere and Sara Topham in the title roles, Romeo and Juliet will officially open the 2013 season on Monday, May 27. The tale of the “star-cross’d lovers” who pursue their romance despite a raging war between their families – and who suffer devastating consequences – is widely regarded as the great love story. “It captures that moment that surely has happened to everyone,” Mr. Carroll says, “where you meet someone and the air in the room changes. You feel that nothing can ever be the same again. And then you add to it the notion that this is the worst person you could possibly have fallen for – another feeling that maybe we have all had – and that everything is conspiring against the possibility of you fulfilling your destiny, and it moves on to a dimension that is tragic and familiar all at the same time. “We all wish we could do something once in our lives that defied the world and all its compromises; these two do it, and we cheer them on even as we know where it all has to end.” The world of the play, says Mr. Carroll, is one in which “loyalty to the tribe is assumed to be the most important quality in life” – an idea no longer widespread in our culture. “Our obsession with individual freedom means that we can hardly imagine how important the impact of defying one’s family is in this play. But that is what I love about Shakespeare: he contains things that strike us as strange, things that strike us as familiar, and things that are strange on one level but familiar on another.” Though best known to Festival audiences for his hugely successful production of Peter Pan in 2010, Mr. Carroll has won international acclaim for his work on Shakespeare. Associate Director at Shakespeare’s Globe in London from 1999 to 2005, he recently directed Mark Rylance – the Globe’s first Artistic Director – in Richard III and Twelfth Night. “It is an incredible honour to be asked to do a Shakespeare on the amazingly beautiful stage of the Festival Theatre,” he says. “I think of the truly great theatre artists who designed and built this theatre, and who have worked on it over the last sixty years, and now here I am doing one of the big ones on that stage. If that doesn’t excite you, it’s time to check you still have a pulse.” Romeo and Juliet is sponsored by Sun Life Financial.
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