Romeo and Juliet is a great play; it is not, however, a particularly good tragedy. Tragedies, according to Aristotle, occur when some “positive fault” brings about the central character’s demise. In other words, tragic heroes, although “better than average,” usually possess some character flaw that eventually leads to their undoing. Romeo and Juliet possess no such flaw, unless falling in love with your parents’ enemy is a flaw. These lovely kids ultimately die as a result of bad luck: “If only Romeo had received the Friar’s letter…” The laws of chance more traditionally govern the genre of comedy. Such laws seem out of place within a tragic vision.
But what exists beyond tragedy? Who governs luck? St. Paul warns that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities. Tonight’s production takes Paul’s words to heart. Using Shakespeare’s rich text as our springboard, we explore a world engaged in spiritual warfare, where dark impulses hide in every decision, and where the forces of good and evil engage in an unseen yet profoundly real battle.
In addition to focusing on the theme of spiritual warfare, our production team has also sought-out ways to make this 400 year-old script immediate and timely to a contemporary audience. We hope that our “Renaissance Zone” setting will shed new light on the “ancient grudge” that infuses this play. Please consult the lobby display for more information regarding the designs and choice of setting.
Tonight marks my directorial debut at Northwestern College. I hope that the fruits of this effort taste as sweet to you as they have for me these many weeks.