Written by Matthew
Today, we discovered the Capulet family dynamic.
We began with some silly warm ups to loosen everyone up and get us thinking on our feet. The group seemed to be suffering from the February blues, and a few high-energy games got us moving and laughing.
The group wanted to dive into a scene. We had the nuclear Capulet family present—father, mother, Juliet, and nurse—so we decided to work on Act III scene v. In this scene, Juliet and Romeo awake after spending their first night together. After Romeo leaves, Juliet is confronted with the news that she must marry Paris.
We read through the first part of the scene several times until Romeo and Juliet were comfortable with the rise and fall of their conversation. Once we had played around with some movement and a few different tones of voice, Romeo and Juliet dropped their scripts and partnered with actors who were not on stage. The partners shadowed the two actors and read the words, one line at a time, to them. Romeo and Juliet repeated the lines, which allowed them to use their hands and eyes. Freed from the script, the actors found unexpected moments of intimacy in their dialogue, and also found moments of youthful miscommunication.
When we continued, Juliet was confronted first by her mother then by her father. The cold, combative tone that Capulet and Lady Capulet found in their readings contrasted with Romeo and Juliet’s warm banter. In particular, Capulet wanted to find the emotional arc of her vitriolic monologue.
The biggest question that the actors wrestled with during this scene was about the relationship between Lady Capulet and Capulet. At times, Capulet and his wife seem to gang up on their daughter. At times, Lady Capulet seems to be protective. After running through the dialogue a few times, we settled on the idea that the Capulet marriage is a partnership; any hesitation on Lady Capulet’s part is half-hearted.
In the final minutes of our meeting, the women discussed the challenge of maintaining a consistent emotional tone for each character. We closed by recapping the decisions of the day, and we went back to our homes and units.
We began today by welcoming and orienting two new members of the group. They are both very excited to be there and immediately volunteered to participate, improvise and read.
We began to read through Act V Scene I, since one of our new members is interested in playing Balthasar, but then two more new people showed up! So we stopped, welcomed and oriented them as well.
With the little time we had left, we decided to play some games and do some improv. This was a lot of fun – no one held back, and everyone was creative and open to “saying yes,” which is the most important thing in improv.
We are very happy to have some fresh energy in the group and look forward to possibly welcoming more people next week.