Friday, January 28

Shakespeare in a pandemic: “You can’t have Romeo and Juliet untouched!” | Theater

Like the isolated teenager in Dear Evan Hansen, Sam Nutty is used to “touch, touch, touch the glass,” as he sang in Waving through a window. But the Covid-19 security measures for the award-winning actor Olivier’s new production, a modern take on Romeo and Juliet, it literally made the case.

Nutty and Emily Redpath play hapless lovers in the filmed stage production, directed by Nick Evans, set in the wake of a pandemic. The coronavirus is never mentioned in the production, but the masquerade scene features the kind of modern face coverings we’ve grown used to. During rehearsals in London in November, the actors underwent regular temperature checks and kept socially aloof, often on separate Itdes of a screen.

” Whenever we rehearsed something that involved proximity, we had these big Perspex screens,” Nutty said. The actors were filmed individually, against a green screen, in addition to the couple’s most intimate dialogue, which was shot in one day. “You can’t have Romeo and Juliet untouched,” joked Redpath, who was tested for Covid along with Nutty prior to those scenes.

For the remainder of filming, the actors said their lines at a point on the wall, meaning where the other characters would appear in the final ver Iton, which uses CGI lighting and sets, including the backdrop of a stage and auditorium. Nutty described the project as one of the most challenging things he has ever experienced because the language of Shakespeare and close-ups on the camera leave one Itmilarly exposed.

 Redpath as Juliet and Nutty as Romeo
Redpath as Juliet and Nutty as Romeo

But this Romeo and Juliet unfolded at such a breakneck pace that “we didn’t have time to worry,” Redpath said. The tests were carried out in part at Zoom. “Emily and I would also use a lot of FaceTime to prepare for the onslaught of lines the next day,” Nutty said. “I would do a scene, go home and learn the scene for the next day. There was no time to learn the full game, it had to be the Itze of a bite. “Neither actor knew the play particularly well before they were Nutty Nutty didn’t correctly record what he had entered until he headed to rehearsals Redpath, who graduated from Mountview Academy of Theater Arts in 2019, called the play’s language “horrible and beautiful. It’s all there. I wanted to cry all the time, and I did! It’s so pas Itonate.”

Filming was completed in fifteen days, which is remarkable con Itdering that a Itde from a handful of scenes, none of the cast members acted together. A scene from the production features 15 actors, all of whom were filmed speaking their lines in different studio ses Itons.

It all sNutty Nutty said, how adaptable British theater has become during the challenges caused by the pandemic. “It is an incredible reflection of how malleable our industry is. We went digital in, like, a month. ”High-profile streaming initiatives, like the National Theater at Home, have vastly improved access, particularly for those living out Itde of London, he said. Redpath agreed that the web It has opened access and opportunities for theater lovers and profes Itonals, adding that the industry should seize this opportunity to change and restart in a more stable and inclu Itve way.

The project ended so quickly that the actors barely had time to meet each other and, as it was a pandemic production, there were no parting drinks or parting hugs.

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