One thing you can be sure of when you see Romeo and Juliet is that the actors in the titular roles are top-notch performers. Over our Festival's long history, many of our past Romeos and Juliets have gone beyond our stages to enjoy stellar national - and even international - acting careers.
Scott Wentworth has directed Shakespeare's best-known tragedy twice, and he understands the importance of casting the right combination of actors to take on these extremely challenging roles.
"We are incredibly lucky this season to have Antoine Yared and Sara Farb in the leads," says Mr. Wentworth. "To play these iconic parts well is hard work. Audiences today have become conditioned by film casting, so they have difficulty accepting that the actor playing Juliet is supposed to be only thirteen. The stage performers have to be youthful enough to pass as young teens, but must also possess the technical abilities necessary to carry off the huge demands of the play's text.
"Sara and Antoine both have a sort of access to their younger selves that is entirely genuine. They have the gift of being able to play these two kids without adding any irony or cynicism over top of the roles: they can convincingly portray naivety without somehow commenting on it. That is a very rare gift to this production."
One of the biggest challenges to overcome when presenting Romeo and Juliet are the preconceptions and expectations that people bring to the play. Whether one is a company member or an audience member, there is an idea that one already knows all there is to know before the house lights even go down. But because of his good fortune in casting his leads, Mr. Wentworth feels that this production enjoys a unique kind of freedom that allows the cast to really explore what the play says.
"We were able to truly mine the text and bring its deeper meaning to the surface," he says. "The young people at the heart of this play are asking big questions like, 'Who am I? What is my role in life?' And I think that's why it resonates so well with younger audiences. That real story of Romeo and Juliet trying to navigate in their world and figure out their new feelings and experiences - the way they question absolutely everything - is being explored here, and that real story still speaks today.
"Young people have a nose for
fakery: they can spot a false face a mile off. So when Juliet sees that her
parents and her nurse are not the people she once thought them to be, that
really hits home with the kids in the audience. "What we've tried to
achieve with this production is an honest portrayal of complex emotions. This is
real human behaviour: it really does not take much to make people turn on one
another. The Capulets and the Nurse are loyal and loving until they can't be.
Our approach seems to capture the way teens really feel when their parents talk
to them. Kids grow up thinking that their parents have the power to fix
everything, so when Juliet sees the rift suddenly open up between them, it's
fascinating to watch her process with her family. At that moment, she no longer
sees them through a child's eyes but maturely, and that is the point at which
she becomes a true individual." Whether you think you know the play
inside out, or it's your first experience seeing a production of it, the famous
balcony scene alone has a fresh and striking interpretation of the text that
makes it feel that one is witnessing a real conversation, not simply listening
to familiar lines of poetry. "Both Romeo and Juliet are alienated
within their society," says Mr. Wentworth. "Juliet has been incredibly coddled
and sheltered, and Romeo has become indoctrinated by the violence of the boys
and men in their world. Romeo was infatuated by Rosaline, but Juliet is
something else entirely. But he is different with her: he is finally himself.
The balcony scene is not all about him just wanting to climb up into her bed.
These are two young people who have found their true home in one another. They
are like soulmates who have found their other half. "That scene is
like one of those long, warm summer nights you experience as a teenager when you
sit up until the wee hours talking with someone who really gets you. It's a
magic connection. And far too rare."
Production support for Romeo and Juliet is
generously provided by Barbara & John Schubert.
September is the perfect time to visit the Stratford Festival. Our late openers have had their official openings to great critical and audience acclaim, and all fourteen of our fabulous productions are in full swing! If you haven't yet had a chance to see everything - or want to see some of your favourites again - you'll need to book your seats now before four of our spectacular offerings close.Last Chance in September:Timon of Athens- at the Tom Patterson Theatre until September 22The Changeling - at the Tom Patterson Theatre until September 23Bakkhai - at the Tom Patterson Theatre until September 23The Komagata Maru Incident- at the Studio Theatre until September 24
Critics and audiences alike have been singing the praises of Guys and Dolls from the rooftops ever since we began previews back in the spring. Patrons have loved the incredible choreography by director Donna Feore so much that they've flocked back to see the show again and again. And if you haven't seen Guys and Dolls yet - well, what are you waiting for?
Here's a sample of the amazing moves and terrific singing of some of the most talented stage performers in North America. Enjoy!
Production support for Guys and Dolls is generously provided by Mary Ann & Robert Gorlin, by Riki Turofsky & Charles Petersen and by Catherine & David Wilkes. Production Co-Sponsors, RBC Royal Bank and Union Gas Limited.
We can't believe summer is over
already! But just because the weather is cooling down doesn't mean you can't
still get a warm feeling in your heart with our fabulous 2017 productions. Check out our sensational Fall Savings event! You'll save 40% on A, B
and C seating zones for a large variety of fantastic shows. Whether you love
Shakespeare, hilarious comedy, searing drama, swashbuckling family adventure or
spectacular musicals, we have something for everyone to enjoy! But
act now - these great Fall Savings are available only for a limited time.
Our glorious Stratford HD film series
continues apace! Filming preparations are well underway to capture this season's
riveting productions of Romeo and Juliet and Timon of Athens
for release in cinemas in spring 2018. Filming takes place during
the 2 p.m. performances on the following dates: • Timon of
Athens - Tuesday, September 19 • Romeo and Juliet -
Tuesday, October 17 You can also join us in the evenings on those
dates for the additional filming of selected scenes. Tickets for
these additional filming sessions are free but must be booked in advance. • Timon
of Athens - Tuesday, September 19, at 7 p.m. • Romeo and
Juliet - Tuesday, October 17, at 7 p.m.
Enjoy this rare and fascinating behind-the-scenes view of the filmmaking process!
*Please note that an extra scene filming session is not a complete performance: its purpose is to capture specific shots that can't be achieved during a regular performance. The evening filming will consist of isolated passages from the play that may be repeated and/or presented out of sequence, with pauses between shots to allow for technical preparations. Please also note that audience reaction shots will be captured on film.Want more Stratford Festival HD?
Pre-order your very own copies of Macbeth and Love's Labour's Lost on DVD or Blu-ray at the Stratford Festival Shops and online at store.stratfordfestival.ca
Stratford Festival HD is sponsored by Sun Life Financial as part of their Making the Arts More Accessible™ program.
Support for Stratford Festival HD is generously provided by The John and Myrna Daniels Charitable Foundation, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, the Jenkins Family Foundation, the Henry White Kinnear Foundation, Ophelia & Mike Lazaridis, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation, Sandra & Jim Pitblado, the Slaight Family Foundation, Robert & Jacqueline Sperandio, and an anonymous donor.
Support for Stratford Festival HD has also been provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
Canadian distribution is through Cineplex, which specializes in bringing world-class events and performances to the big screen.
Screenings are followed by a broadcast window on CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster.
U.S. and international distribution is through SpectiCast, the fastest growing event cinema marketing and distribution company in the world.
Here's a peek at just some of the exciting things we share online with our friends and followers:
Interact with your Festival favourites
Find out about special events, and leave messages for Stratford artists. We also feature lots of live interactive social media interviews, in which you can ask questions and chat directly with our talented performers.Be in the know with our latest extension announcements
You'll always be first in line for tickets when a popular show is extended.
Enjoy amazing savings with fabulous ticket sales
Keep in the loop for flash sales and last-minute offers.Get exclusive Forum deals
Expand your experience with our lively and engaging Forum offerings.We love to hear from you!
What are you most looking forward to seeing in 2018? Do you have any all-time favourite Festival moments? Join our social media community today and share your personal reviews, stories, photos and memories with other theatre lovers.
We'll see you online!
Ideas at Stratford: The
Poverty Cycle | September 9 With so much wealth in the world,
why is there still so much poverty? How do we create the circumstances where
poverty might be put behind us, and what does our attitude towards poverty and
social mobility tell us about who we are? CBC's Ideas host Paul Kennedy
moderates a discussion featuring Deena Ladd, coordinator at Toronto's Workers
Action Centre, social-justice lawyer Fay Faraday and activist Pablo L. Godoy.The
Play's the Thing | September 10 Is fiction more or less true
than our daily lived experience? Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, professor of psychology
at the University of Toronto and creator of Self Authoring, joins Kim
Solga, Associate Professor of English and Writing Studies at Western University,
and Dr. Suvendrini Lena, a neurologist and playwright, in a conversation
examining the relationship among fiction, drama, the formation of individual
identity and reality.Consecrated
Ground | September 10 Nova Scotian playwright George Boyd
introduces us to the once-flourishing hamlet of Africville, which was Canada's
largest and oldest black community, settled by Black Loyalists in the 1830s.
After decades of denying the tax-paying residents of Africville basic services
such as electricity, running water and a proper sewage system, Halifax city
officials decided to locate the municipal dump on the settlement's doorstep. In
1965, on the eve of having their homes bulldozed by the City of Halifax (citing
"unsanitary living conditions"), residents in the now slum-like environment
struggle to retain their dignity as they face eviction without compensation,
forced relocation and the erasure of their legacy in Canada.Bitter
Conduct | September 13 "Fair Verona" is not so fair, as the
cautionary tale of Romeo and Juliet reveals a society that marginalizes youth to
the point of alienation and self-destruction. Geriatric neuropsychiatrist Mark
Rapoport and psychiatrist Mark Sinyor, both of Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre, and child and adolescent psychiatrist John Teshima examine the
dysfunction that gives rise to youth suicide as a symptom of society's breach in
Ideas at Stratford: First Nation/Second Nation | September 16This Forum event will be streaming live on our Facebook page on Saturday, September 16, at 10:30 a.m.
Canadians assume that the First Nations have some special place, that they shape our society in some significant way, but history - as well as contemporary actions and attitudes - might suggest otherwise. In a country where the rest of us are immigrants, what do the First Nations represent, what do we owe them, and what of the future? CBC's Ideas host Paul Kennedy moderates a discussion featuring Anishinaabe writer Niigaan Sinclair; Dr. Alexandria Wilson, one of the early members of Idle No More; Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson; and indigenous scholar and artist Jarrett Martineau.Shakespeare and Company: The White Devil | September 17
Members of the Festival acting company read one of the greatest of Jacobean tragedies: John Webster's mordant masterpiece The White Devil.Behind the Profile | September 20
Social media profiles offer a flattering public image that can be in sharp contrast to the private reality of the person behind the profile. Join Jennifer Hollett, head of news and government at Twitter Canada, Anne T. Donahue, international writer and comedian, and Andrew Lundy, vice-president, digital, for The Canadian Press, as they discuss self-branding, respectability policing and survival on the new frontier.Inside the Invictus Games | September 23
The Invictus Games were created by Britain's Prince Harry in 2014. This international Olympic-style event invites wounded, injured or sick armed-services personnel and veterans to compete in sports. To mark the opening day of the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, retired Leading Seaman and 2017 Invictus Games Ambassador Bruno Guevremont speaks with Paul Kennedy of CBC Radio's Ideas about his almost 15 years with the Royal Canadian Navy and his experience as the Canadian team captain for the 2016 Invictus Games.WordPlay: The Rover | September 28
Geraint Wyn Davies hosts a dramatic reading of The Rover by Aphra Behn, performed by members of the company. Amid the fast and furious whirlwind of the South American carnival, three wandering cavaliers roam in exile, while three women looking for love and fighting for a little freedom explore this vibrant, frenzied, dizzying world.The Appeal: Travel Ban on Trial at the Supreme Court of Stratford | September 30This Forum event will be streaming live on our Facebook page on Saturday, September 30, at 10 a.m.
The legality of Prince Escalus's executive order banishing Romeo from Verona, allegedly for the sake of the state's security, is being challenged in the Supreme Court of Stratford. Presiding is the Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin. She is joined by Thomas Cromwell, former Justice of the Supreme Court, and the Honourable Catherine Fraser, Chief Justice of Alberta. The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada (1999-2005), acts as expert witness, seeking to defend the absolute right of rulers to protect the state from "undesirables." Sonia Bjorkquist, President of the Advocates' Society, and Peter Griffin, past-President, act as counsel. Is the travel ban on Romeo consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Find out when the Prince has his day in court!