POST: 'Romeo and Juliet' - fixated on the costumes

What's it about?

Two characters, Romeo and Juliet, are madly in love but alas they cannot be together due to their family’s deep rooted rivalry. Our love birds must go through trials and tribulations that ultimately end with their most famous tragic death.

What'd I experience?

Romeo and Juliet is a tale as old as time. There has to be at least 500 versions of this work of art floating around the internet alone. The only thing in my mind was the single question, “how can you make such an iconic plot into something new and exciting?”

That was the type of mindset I had when I walked into the theater. I’ve read Romeo and Juliet, watched movies and adaptions, and even listened to podcasts about it in class. There was absolutely no way I could be pleasantly surprised about watching this show.

Except I was totally wrong.  

The costumes. Throughout, my mind’s eye was fixated on the costuming more than anything else. Since I was already acquainted with the story, this fixation didn’t take away from my experience. In fact, it made things way more engaging.  

The play had started off with all 5 actors wearing basic nude colored clothing like tank tops, shorts, and leggings. Most of the actors play more than one character and the only way to show those changes were through their change of costuming.

I was particularly enchanted by the dress Juliet and her mother were wearing. These two characters were wearing two different dresses that were connected. The mothers dress was large and draped, having an air of power and wealth. Juliet’s dress was large as well but had a young and vibrant air to it. With both these dresses connected, it practically took up the whole stage. So, it seemed to almost become a prop. 

During the first act something interesting happened. I’m almost positive it had happened as a mistake but maybe not. Because the dress was so huge, it’s no brainer that it would get tangled up. But it wasn't just that it did, it was when it did. During the masquerade ball scene, the first place Romeo and Juliet meet, the dress twists between the mother and the Juliet.

Maybe I’m just looking into things far too much but that twist seemed to mirror the plot. The moment she met Romeo, Juliet’s dress, which had naturally flowed and connected with her mothers, was suddenly twisted and unable to fall back to its natural flow.

As the play continued, the dress continued to get tangled up and twisted - to me, that reflected Juliet’s relationship with Romeo strengthening (and arguably ruining her...) and Juliet’s relationship with her mother halted. The natural flow had effectively ended at the end of the first act.

It’s curious to me how this one fantastical dress situation became more than a costume or a prop or a symbol, it seemed to become a character in itself. That surprised me. 


Want to see it?

$26.50 thru TDF Membership

Romeo and Juliet
Aquila Theatre
@ GK ArtsCenter
thru Apr. 22