Casting choices in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet onstage
A German production of Romeo and Juliet

One of the first and probably most important jobs for the director of a play is to choose a cast. Choices that are made will depend heavily on the look and feel that the director wants for the production of the play. One of Shakespeare's strengths is that his plays are open to a variety of interpretations; for instance he gives away very little about how characters should look. So it will all be down to what the director thinks, making casting decisions quite crucial. Of course, in Shakespeare's time women were not permitted to act and so the casting choices for female characters would have been very different from those today. In fact young boys played female roles in the plays.

Below is a recording of actors auditioning for the part of Romeo.

When you're watching the video, think about HOW the different actors present Romeo:

  • appearance
  • personality
  • actions
  • voice
  • facial expressions

Act 2, Scene 2 - The balcony scene

Which Romeo did you think was the most appropriate? Why?