Sam Troughton as Romeo and Mariah Gale as Juliet, balcony scene, RSC 2011
I don't think I ever wrote about this production, which my friend and I saw during its run at Lincoln Center. (We saw it at the very end of the run; Sam Troughton had injured himself, so Dyfan Dwyfor was playing Romeo. Also, the fire alarm or something kept going off, and Romeo's torch in the final scene wouldn't go out when it was meant to.) It was a frustrating production - not because of the technical hiccups, but because of various odd gimmicks that didn't quite work: Romeo and Juliet were dressed in modern clothes while the rest of the cast wore Elizabethan-style costumes, until the end, when Juliet dons a white Elizabethan wedding dress, because...their tragedy is that they can't overcome the restrictions of their world with their modernity, I guess. Mostly it made me feel like I was watching a Statement rather than a play - same with the way the production opened, where "Romeo" is actually just some poor modern-day tourist who gets sucked into the action of the play after listening to the prologue as a tourist's guide on an iPod. Also the Capulets' ball was weird and "tribal," don't ask me why. It was all a bit disappointing, because I thought Mariah Gale was wonderful a lot of the time, coltish and smart and wry. (She was a brilliant Celia in the season's AYLI, too, really lovely and playful.)
Anyway, this scene was perhaps the best one, because there's not much in it to gimmick up.