- Prince Escalus, Prince of Verona
- Mercutio, kinsman of Escalus, friend of Romeo
- Paris, kinsman of Escalus who wishes to marry Juliet
HOUSE OF MONTAGUE
- Montague, patriarch of the House of Montague
- Lady Montague, matriarch of the House of Montague
- Romeo, son of the Montagues
- Benvolio, cousin and friend of Romeo
- Abraham and Balthasar, servants in the Montague household
HOUSE OF CAPULET
- Capulet, patriarch of the House of Capulet
- Lady Capulet, matriarch of the House of Capulet
- Juliet, daughter of the Capulets
- Tybalt, cousin of Juliet, nephew of Lady Capulet
- Nurse, Juliet’s personal attendant and confidante
- Peter, Sampson and Gregory, servants in the Capulet household
- Rosaline (unseen), niece of Capulet with whom Romeo is in love
An ongoing feud between the Capulets and the Montagues breaks out again on the streets of Verona. Both sides are warned by Prince Escalus that they must not disturb the peace again, on pain of death.
Romeo, love-sick for Rosaline, is comforted by his friend Benvolio. Capulet forbids Paris to marry his daughter Juliet until she is older. Romeo and his friends learn of a party being held by the Capulets and decide to go to it as masquers. At the party, Tybalt sees Romeo but is prevented from fighting him by Capulet. Romeo meets Juliet and they instantly fall in love. After leaving the party, Romeo eludes his friends and returns to meet Juliet; they exchange vows of love. Romeo confides in Friar Lawrence and he consents to marry them.
Benvolio tells Mercutio that Tybalt has sent Romeo a challenge. Romeo joins them ad is visited by the Nurse, who is told of the marriage plan. When Juliet learns of it, she goes to Friar Lawrence’s cell, and the lovers are married. Tybalt, looking for Romeo, finds Benvolio and Mercutio. Romeo returns and is challenged by Tybalt, but refuses to fight. Mercutio draws on Tybalt, but is fatally wounded. Tybalt then fights with Romeo and is killed. Romeo flies and Benvolio reports the happenings to the Prince, who banishes Romeo.
The Nurse tells Juliet of Romeo’s banishment and promises to bring him to her. The Friar informs a distraught Romeo that he is banished, but advises him to visit Juliet secretly before leaving for Mantua.
Capulet tells Paris that he may marry Juliet in three days’ time; Lady Capulet brings the news to Juliet, who has just bade Romeo a hasty farewell. Juliet refuses to marry Paris, persisting in the face of her father’s anger. She goes to the Friar for help and finds Paris there, arranging the marriage. When Paris has left, thi friar devises a plan: he will give Juliet a drink that will make her appear dead, so that she can avoid marriage, and will write to Romeo to tell him; they can then elope to Mantua.
Juliet tell her father she will marry Paris, and Capulet bring the wedding forward to the next day. Juliet retires and drinks the liquid. When her ‘body’ is discovered, all mourn and she is taken to the family crypt. In Manuta, Balthasar tellsr Romeo that Juliet is dead. He vows to lie dead next to her that night and obtains a poison from an apothecary. Friar Lawrence learns from Friar John that his letter did not reach Romeo. Realising his danger, Lawrence leaves to explain to Juliet what has happened.
Paris goes to Juliet’s tomb to mourn her, and encounters Romeo. They fight, and Romeo kills Paris. Romeo then drinks the poison and dies beside Juliet. The Friar arrives to see Romeo dead and Juliet waking. She refuses to leave and kills herself with Romeos’ dagger. Officers arrive, then rouse the families and the Prince. The Friar explains what has happened. Montague and Capulet agree to make peace with each other.
A Word from the Director
Shakespeare’s ‘star-crossed lovers’ are almost certainly amongst his best known characters, and the play itself was voted his most popular in a You Gov survey to mark the four hundredth anniversary of the author’s death. This story of transgressive romance, both challenging and overcoming parental and societal limitations struck a chord with the audience from the moment of its creation, as the title page of its 1597 publication tells us; “it hath been often, with great applause, plaid publiquely.”
What interested me about this celebrated love story is that it is as much about violence and hatred as it is about romance. The world the lovers inhabit is one fuelled by revenge, and internecine conflict. I wanted to find a way to represent a community torn by rivalry that the younger generation would like to escape, but which values loyalty to the family above all other considerations. The solution which came to me was to embed the drama firmly in the Italian culture that Shakespeare chose as his setting. Shakespeare’s fascination with Italy permeates the cannon of his work and the country is referenced so frequently that some scholars suggest that he may have travelled in Italy during his so called ‘lost years’ sometime between the mid 1580s and 1590s.
I have consequently chosen to set this production in Verona in the early 1960s with the context of La Mala del Brenta, a Northern Italian version of the Mafia. During this period a number of high ranking Sicilian Mafiosi were sent to serve time in solitary confinement in the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia regions. They gradually built networks with local underworld figures and rose to positions of power and prominence, eventually founding a high- calibre international syndicate, whilst also bringing old grudges and enmities along with them from the South. From the mid nineteen fifties through into the early sixties the model of the rebellious teenager, flaunting convention and challenging authority was also a developing social phenomenon, making it a suitable period for a story in which young people are developing a burgeoning sense of their own agency. Juliet is a young woman trapped in a fiercely patriarchal society, whose body is destined to be used a pawn to support her father’s strategic alliances. It takes enormous courage for her to resist such pressure, and to make a choice she recognises, at the very least, will cause her to be separated from her family forever. The power of love as an ecstatic, tempestuous and overpowering force that cannot be gainsaid is, of course, the central theme of the drama, but Virgil’s proverbial statement omnia vincit amor is overturned by the fact that Shakespeare chooses tragedy as his mode of expression, leading Romeo and Juliet towards the inevitability of death, and the play to its final outcome “a glooming peace.”
- Executive Producers (Brilliant Events): Darija Mikulandra Žanetić & Jelena Maržić
- Creative Director/Producer (Honey-tongued Theatre Productions): Filip Krenus
- Director: Sean Aita
- Set and Costume Designer: Maira Vazeou
- Fight Director: Doug Cockie
- Choreographer: Claire Camble-Hutchins
- Lighting Designer: Aleksandar Mondecar
- Stage Manager: Virginia Bolfek
- Assistant Stage Manager: Tena Filičić
- Hair and Make Up: Ivana Pleša
- Light System: Nikola Kapidžić, Antonio Ljubojević
- Sound System: Milan Tomašić, Fifi sound
- Technical Manager: Darko Ivanković, Studio DI
- Graphic & Web Design: Davor Pukljak
SEAN AITA (Director)
Sean Aita is delighted to be in the beautiful city of Dubrovnik once more, bringing Romeo and Juliet back to the city as part of the Midsummer Scene Festival.
Sean is an award-winning professional director, and playwright who trained originally as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. As Associate Director at the Royal Theatre Northampton, Sean won the Checkout Theatre award for his play Yallery Brown, co-produced with Forkbeard Fantasy which subsequently transferred to Greenwich Theatre. Sean was Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of the celebrated regional touring theatre company Forest Forge, where his work was short-listed for the Stage Awards for Achievement in Regional Theatre. At Forest Forge he produced the company’s first ever international co-production with Theatre Newfoundland and Labrador. Sean is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy London, a board member of BH Live, one of the largest entertainment and leisure groups in the South West of England, and a member of Trinity College London’s drama examination panel. He has had an artistic association with Vienna’s English Theatre for the past thirty-five years, both as a writer and director, and recently directed a highly acclaimed production of Allan Knee’s dance musical Syncopation for the theatre’s main house. Sean has also recently collaborated with actor Filip Krenus in creating the ‘melancomedy’ A Poor Player, which will be presented at the Marin Drizic Theatre as part of this year’s festival.
FILIP KRENUS (Creative Producer – Honey-tongued Theatre Productions)
When Filip formed Honey-tongued Theatre Productions in 2012, he aimed to create a cultural bridge between the United Kingdom and South-Eastern Europe. He produced the first festival of Croatian contemporary drama in London Short Shrift , which was sponsored by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in the United Kingdom. The event featured five top Croatian playwrights and brought to London some of the best young Croatian actors and directors. He has launched Honey-tongued READINGS – a series of rehearsed readings of both British and South-Eastern European plays and has set up Honeybear Youth Theatre, the children’s theatre branch of Honey-tongued Theatre Productions. Hedgehog’s Home was its first production. In 2015 Filip has set up LittleBIG Shakespeare workshop series for young audiences. In Croatia, Filip has collaborated with several theatre companies. He has translated the comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare – Abridged for Teatar EXIT, one of the most acclaimed Croatian theatres. The translation served as a basis for the Croatian version of the project for which he was also assistant director. He also translated the works of the following playwrights into Croatian: Steven Berkoff, Jim Cartwright, Philip Ridley, Briony Lavery, Clare Dowie and Langford Wilson. For Short Shrift, he translated into English the plays by Croatian playwrights Vlatka Vorkapić and Dino Pešut. He is currently working on producing the UK premiere of Gloria by Ranko Marinković, a Croatian classic play which he has also translated into English. He has translated into English the comedy Uncle Maroje by one of the greatest Croatian and European Renaissance playwrights Marin Držić. Filip also translates for audio-visual media (Croatian National Television).
MAIRA VAZEU (Set and Costume Designer)
Maira is a stage designer, working in theatre, opera and films. She trained at the Central School Of Speech and Drama. She is selected as one of the designers to represent Greece at the prestigious international exhibition of scenography Prague Quadrennial in 2019. She has designed theatre shows and operas in UK and abroad in venues such as Lilian Baylis Studio – Sadler’s Wells, National Theatre Of Greece, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Wiltons Music Hall, Belgrade Theatre, National Theatre Of Northern Greece, Theatre Organisation Of Cyprus, Finborough Theatre, Riverside Studios, Hoxton Hall as well as shows for the Edinburgh, New York and Prague Fringe Festivals and operas for Ryedale Festival. She has collaborated with Drama Colleges such as The Royal Central School Of Speech & Drama and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts designing various end of year student productions and taught lessons at University of the Arts London – Camberwell College Of Arts. In the film industry Maira has worked as a set dresser in many productions at Pinewood, Shepperton and Elstree Studios.
DOUG COCKLE (Fight Director)
Doug is a professional actor who has lived and worked in the United Kingdom for over 20 years. Having trained extensively in Stage Combat and various martial arts he occasionally choreographs stage fights for theatrical productions.
He has worked in film, television, theatre, commercials, corporate video, radio and voice overs and has worked extensively in video game voice acting.
He is best known for voicing the character Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher video games and has been nominated for a number of awards for his work with this character. In 2016 he was nominated for a BAFTA and won the N.A.V.G.T.R. Award and the Golden Joystick Award for Best Performance. Screen appearances include Reign of Fire, Tailor of Panama, Captain America: The First Avenger and Criminal, the television series Band of Brothers and commercials for Sprite and Cheerios.
Stage appearances include Burn This by Lanford Wilson, Dexter Haven in High Society and Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls. Game credits include: The Witcher game series, Ghost Recon: Breakpoint, Horizon Zero Dawn, Quantum Break and many others.
Doug served as the Course Leader for the BA (Hons) Acting degree course at Arts University Bournemouth from 2004-2017 and has taught acting and provided workshops at many leading UK drama schools and universities.
Doug earned an MFA in Acting from Penn State University. He lives in Bournemouth, UK with his wife Marianne, his two teenage sons and his dog, a Border Terrier named Digby (who is a very good boy).
CLAIRE CAMBLE-HUTCHINS (Choreographer)
Claire trained at the Guildford School of Acting. She became a Freelance Choreographer based in London for many years, working in regional Theatre, Film and Television. She has fond memories of working with Sir Laurence Olivier rehearsing Vaudeville routines for his final ITV Granada television series Lost Empires and teaching Christopher Lambert and John Turturro to jitterbug in Michael Cimino’s film The Sicilian. In the corporate world she has brought to life vacuum cleaners, washing machines, fridges and freezers for Electrolux, windows for Everest Double Glazing and dancing cars on air castors for Renault.
For many years now she has lived on the South Coast of England teaching, directing and choreographing in and around Dorset, most prolifically for Canford School and for the Arts University Bournemouth. Claire has worked as director and choreographer for many local Societies over the years including BBLOC, BOS, All Saints, Caught in the Act, Wand’rin Minstrels, Curtain Up, Impact Theatre and Bournemouth G&S.
Claire is delighted to return to choreograph the Midsummer Scene production of Romeo & Juliet and to be working with Director Sean Aita again.
ALEKSANDAR MONDECAR (Lighting Designer)
Aleksandar grew up in the theatre and has spent 35 years in professional theatre lighting. He has worked with almost every director, set designer, choreographer and costume designer in Croatia, as well as many creatives from abroad and has designer for all the theatres and cultural cnetres in the country togheter with numerous theatres abroad, having a total of over 800 shows to his credit. He has worked with the Histrions Theatre, Zagreb for over twenty years on all their projects, as well as with many groups and festivals such as International Theatre Festival Jerusalem, International Theatre Festival Berlin, International Street Festival Graz, International Festival Gent and many more. He has held a series of seminars on stage lighting and taught at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts in 1996. Aleksandar has won several awards and prizes, including the prestigious ‘Varaždin Baroque Evenings’, and special lighting design awards from NAJ festival and the ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People). His contribution to the development of culture in the Republic of Croatia earned him the personal appreciation of the Minister of Culture. Aleksandar wrote the first book about lighting design in Croatia – Introduction to Theatre Lighting which was published in 2000 and he is a Member of the Community of Croatian Artists since 2001.