This (rather hot!) week was dedicated to character work — and THE scene. Yes, the balcony scene.
Character work includes several aspects:
- creating a biography for your character (who am I? what do I want? What is my motivation?)
- specific moods that your character displays (Shakespeare’s characters go through a roller-coaster of emotions, sometimes in one scene)
- posture, gesture and mimics (showing, not telling)
- voice — accent, projection, clarity (the three key words: articulate, exaggerate, enunciate)
- taking and giving: maintaining the energy by offering your partner on stage enough energy so that they can take this energy and continue and thus return it to you or other actors (acting is physically quite exhausting, yes)
- and of course, director’s favourite: snappiness as far as line-biting and swift entrances are concerned. (I am quite keen on that, yes. Ask the actors…)
The Balcony Scene
Anyone who has read the text will know that there is actually no reference to a balcony in it. The text merely indicates a window as can be seen in Romeo’s lines: “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks” (2.2.2). The balcony, which can be seen below at the Dal Cappello house in Verona, now referred to as Casa di Giulietta, also is not original. While it is argued that it indeed does date back to the time of the Capuletis and Montecchis, it was not originally a part of the Dal Cappello house, but was attached to it in the twentieth century. Why? Because a balcony makes the love story complete. In other words, it attracts tourists.
Not wanting to break with tradition, we also decided to feature a balcony, albeit it, less bombastic (sorry Capulet!). Our balcony will be the permanently installed upper stage in the Theatron.
Now add the Capulet and Montague houses at each side, and Juliet’s bed on the upper stage itself — et voilà, you have a balcony.