- Relax. No, seriously. Just sit back and relax. You don’t have to understand every single word to enjoy the show. And, much like listening to a character with an accent, the longer you listen, the better you will understand. The actors will help, I promise! If you aren't sure what the heck they just said, pay attention to their body language - often that helps get the gist across even if the words sound like nonsense to you.
- Be prepared. Take a minute to read a synopsis - we even include one in the program. There are spoilers, but it’s okay – there’s no surprise twist ending to our production and most of us already know how the story ends (thank you, high school English class!). Reading the synopsis will give you a better idea of the flow of the action and how characters are related, so you won't be scrambling to figure out who the heck Benvolio and Mercutio are, halfway through the first act.
- Remember that it was written for everyone! Theatre was highly affordable entertainment in Shakespeare's time – tickets for standing room only cost 1 pence, about the same as a beer or a loaf of bread, and fancy seats with cushions only cost a few more pence. Because of the low ticket prices, going to the theatre to see plays was the equivalent of going out to the bar or a movie with friends – and everyone did it! Think about it like interactive Netflix & chill - our production of Romeo & Juliet has aspects of Game of Thrones, How I Met Your Mother, The Bachelor, The Great Gatsby, Adam Sandler comedies... it's like all your favorite modern entertainment rolled into a neat little 2 hour package.
- Immerse yourself. Listen to the language the way you would listen to music. Don't get hung up in it; let it wash over you. Shakespeare was a poet, and the words in this play are some of his most beautiful. Some of the words make evocative sounds when combined, other times each individual word evokes different feelings. The language is like a map to lead you on this journey with the characters!
- Don’t be afraid to react! The first act of Romeo & Juliet feels far more like a romantic-comedy – bawdy jokes, a masquerade, dancing, young love, and a wedding – so don’t be afraid to laugh and enjoy it while it lasts. This playful quality makes the sudden turn to tragedy all the more heart-wrenching; we have grown to enjoy these characters and root for the young lovers and their friends. Laugh, cry, and be open to taking this journey with the characters.
Whether you’re a Shakespeare aficionado or this will be your first encounter with the Bard, we hope you'll come give our production a try!
Shakespeare's ROMEO & JULIET runs March 17-19 and 23-25 at the Oshkosh Grand Opera House. Tickets available now!