Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Getting to know Romeo and Juliet

"Stafford Castle is such a wonderfully enchanting setting to put on Shakespeare"

The cast of Romeo and Juliet have been in rehearsals for just over a week and we thought it was time to get to know them better. We met with our very own Romeo and Juliet, Dwane Walcott and Poppy Drayton to ask some quick fire questions.

Dwane Walcott

Poppy Drayton
Stafford Festival Shakespeare is one of the largest open air Shakespeare events in Europe, how do you feel about being part of the event this year?

Dwane: At any one moment I feel a range of emotions from joy to fear…the over riding feeling is one of privilege.

Poppy: I’m hugely excited to be part of this year’s Shakespeare Festival. I can’t think of a more beautiful setting to put on a Shakespeare play!

What made you want to get involved?

P: I’d heard how wonderful the atmosphere is and I thought it’d be such a fantastic event to be part of.

D: Romeo and Juliet is the backbone for many of our most loved stories, so I am excited to explore the themes at the grass-root level, where they began.

Have you ever performed in the cast of a Shakespeare play before?

D: I have been in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Othello and performed scenes from Love’s Labour’s Lost and Titus Andronicus

P: Yes, I’ve been in several Shakespeare productions both at school and drama school but never had the chance to play Juliet. I feel greatly honoured to play such a well-known and much-loved character of Shakespeare’s.

Shakespeare has written countless well-known plays and sonnets, what is your favourite Shakespeare play?

P:  I have a new favourite every time I’m involved in another production!

D:  Titus Andronicus was the first of Shakespeare’s plays I read for fun and it still vividly sticks in my mind. But can I say I don’t have one?!

What do you think is the feeling/message that stays with the audience after watching Romeo and Juliet?

D: What would you sacrifice for the sake of love?

P:  The message I was left with was that strength of passion can ignite a change in others, even if you, regrettably, aren’t able to watch it take effect.  

The event takes place in a very unique setting, have you performed in the grounds of a castle before or open air?

P: No never, apart from at a fair called Strawberry Fair in Canada when I was 7. I’m expecting this event to be very different though as this time I won’t be dressed from head to toe in a Lycra Canadian flag! Thank goodness!

D: Never! It is going to be an experience no doubt!

How do you think performing at the castle will differ to a traditional theatre venue?

D: I guess it never rains at the theatre! It should hopefully expand the theatrical experience, and give people a night to remember!

P: It is such a wonderfully enchanting setting to put on Shakespeare. It feels wrong in a way to contain Shakespeare’s work within four walls when it’s so full of life and vitality!

Romeo and Juliet opens on June 28th and runs until July 14th at Stafford Castle.


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