Staging choices in Romeo and Juliet

Mercutio lies on the ground while sword-fighting wih Tybalt
Mercutio and Tybalt sword-fighting on stage

Although there are many similarities between the theatres of Shakespeare's time and the theatres of today, there are big differences too. Nowadays the audience is used to sitting in a large darkened room, watching a piece of drama in near-silence. In the theatres of the late 16th and early 17th centuries, plays were mainly performed during daylight in open spaces. Most of the audience stood and were not hesitant in making their feelings known, whether these were positive or negative.

Possibly the biggest difference we would notice is how the plays were staged. Staging a play is the part of the overall creative process which involves making choices about the design and the supportive elements of a piece of drama, namely:

  • lighting
  • sound
  • effects
  • costume
  • scenery
  • props (or properties)

Staging a scene

As Romeo refuses to fight Tybalt, Mercutio fights in Romeo's place. This has disastrous consequences and results in Mercutio's death. A fight scene should be amazing to watch and Shakespeare would have wanted his audience to relish in the ups and downs of the conflict.

How would you stage the fight scene between Mercutio and Tybalt? How would you excite the audience? Think about the bullet points above.

Let's see what ideas the contestants from Director's Den had!

Mercutio's fight with Tybalt