Romeo and Juliet perfectly capture the rush of being in love and the desire to make that feeling last forever despite daunting circumstances.
The story is often thought to be about love and it’s power. But actually the audience fails to realise that the love is included in the piece only in a few fragile moments of satisfaction. The theme of the play becomes mainly about violence and chaos, confusion and death. From the very beginning of the play it is highly evident that violence will occur. Furthermore the needlessness of the deaths in society, especially since it predominantly happens amongst youth.
The story teaches one of letting old family wounds go, and not letting your emotions rule your life. The Montague and the Capulets have let an old family rivalry take away the future of their own children. It is a narrative that expresses a historical conflict between old forms of identity and new modes of desire, between authority and freedom, between parental will and romantic individualism.
A Comprehensive Account of the Story
In our ballet we follow the Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet with all the main characters and their relationships. But as well the incredible music by Sergei Prokofiev wonderfully written specially for this story. Our concept and our intention is to bring the audience as closest possible to the to the story and to all the performers. The scenery, therefore, goes beyond the stage to the auditorium, where we build a bridge over the seats which symbolises the family division, but as well the connection. The stage in the audience has a shape of a cross as metaphor to the destiny that they have to carry. Dancers are not only dancing on the life orchestra in the pit of the theatre, but as well dancing on Shakespeare’s text spoken by two actors. The story happens on stage, between spectators and on the bridge.
Jiří Bubeníček, Choreographer, Concept and Dramaturgy
Love and Violence
This production is strongly guided by the Play of Shakespeare. Through the clues we found in the text we defined how the characters are and their relationships. The way the production is going to look was motivated by the idea of combining together multiple artistic aspects as dance, theatre, film and music.
It is a play about love and violence, a type of violence that we can still observe on the streets around us now. A world where wars are on and on constantly among neighbours countries all over our planet. This way the play feels very relevant to our times and its amazing because it was written 400 years ago. And like in Shakespeare times, these wars are like closed circles between two sides defined by honor and shame for decades. And the only way out is the death of innocent children and young people.
Those older generations hypnotised by their historical wounds dictates to new innocent generations what to do, but then their children’s reaction comes as a strong impact, exactly like a boomerang backwards to the older generation with extreme events. All is leaded by passionate blind decisions with mistaken results that is powerless in face of the fate.
Shakespeare reminds us since then that perhaps a different type of parents are needed, more open, more able to listen, where generations will communicate better. And this is a play about revolution, when young people through their love and sacrifice are trying to make a change in their society.
The story is a huge mess of decisions and actions happen in a very short time of 4 days. Alternating between very violent scenes, followed immediately by love and new possibilities and situations full of all kinds of expectations.
While action unfolds it brings a lot of contrasts and emotions for the dancers to go through in one and a half hour. They have to stay open and receptive to what they have to go through and feel in the deep of their hearts the changes in the most truthful way. However, they can find a lot of support in the music. As the music of Prokofiev is very accurate with the story and contains all the emotional guidance in the amazing layers of melodies.
Nadina Cojocaru, Concept and Dramaturgy
Storyline, Dance and Music of the Masterpiece
Prokofiev’s music has a huge fascination for me and I dare to say also for our orchestra as a collective. It’s so direct and at the same time complex in the way it transports all facets of emotions through sound. It can be playful, painful, powerful - all within just a moment. His Romeo and Juliet is definitely one of the best versions, the Shakespeare material has been set into tone. Using no words it leads with such clearness through the emotional journey. It is a joy to follow how Projofiev uses certain motifs and themes to give each character - or state of emotion - a specific brand that keeps returning throughout the piece. To work with our fantastic ballet company on this is a wonderful matter. Prokofiev wanted this piece to be performed with dancers after all! The music (the suites from the ballet) is performed in concert much more and constantly throughout the world. It’s a much rarer event to have the masterpiece performed in this originally intended way as a “Gesamtkunstwerk” of storyline, dance and music - only then it can unfold it’s full and universal impact.
Valentin Egel, Maestro
When I was imagining the spaces for the ballet Romeo and Juliet, I was inspired by strong and gentle Prokofiev music, those characteristics are also visible in the drawings.
The space is filled with Renaissance pieces of fragile architectural forms that emerge from the ground or appear from above, which reminds us of some old ruins.
These forms are hanging in the metaphysical space, and represent pieces of memory, melted architecture of a dream.
Aleksandra Ana Buković, Set designer
In my design I often try to combine the contemporary with the historic. I want each character to be special and the costumes to communicate my ideas to the audience. I choose for this time a romantic direction. The costumes are quite fashionable with details from Renaissance period, are easy to wear and comfortable, in order to be able to support the movement and the story as much as possible.
Nadina Cojocaru, Costume designer
ROMEO AND JULIET
Story ballet inspired by William Shakespeare's play
Ballet in two acts
Created for Croatian National Theater Ivan pl. Zajc Rijeka
Directress Maša Kolar.
Premiere 27.04.2022, in Rijeka, Croatia
In collaboration with the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra
and Croatian Drama and Italian Drama
Composer: Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev
Choreography: Jiří Bubeníček
Concept and Dramaturgy: Jiří Bubeníček / Nadina Cojocaru
Set designer: Aleksandra Ana Buković
Costume design: Nadina Cojocaru
Lighting design: Dalibor Fugošić and Jiří Bubeníček
Photos and video: Fanni Tutek-Hajnal and Nadina Cojocaru
Juliet: Maria Matarranz de las Heras
Romeo: Nicola Prato
Mercutio: Tommy Rous
Benvolio: Leonardo De Santis
Friar Laurence: Tilman Patzak
Tybalt: Michele Pastorini
Paris: Jody Bet
Capulet: Ali Tabbouch
Lady Capulet: Marta Voinea Čavrak
Nurse: Marta Kanazir
Lady Montague: Tea Rušin
Montague: Francesco Pio de Benedictis
People of Montague: Soyoka Iwata / Milica Mucibabić
People of Capulet: Ksenija Krutova / Anna Zardi / Maria del Mar Hernandez
Prince Escalus: Andrei Köteles
In collaboration with the Rijeka Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Valentin Egel
And with Croatian Drama and Italian Drama
Two actors: Ivna Bruck / Mario Jovev