Friday, May 06, 2016

Could You Double Mercutio and Juliet?

This came up in conversation awhile back but I never posted it.  I'm pretty sure that Mercutio and Juliet never actually share the stage, right?

A new Midsummer was thinking about (not sure if they went through with it) having Helena played as a gay man.  I think that's a horrid idea myself, but that's just my opinion.  The point is that we're getting pretty bold in our creative re-imaginings for the purpose of making certain statements.

People often want to argue whether Mercutio is gay.  That's nothing new for the internet, of course - any popular male character can find fan fiction that portrays him as gay.  But what if we ran with that idea, and put the suggestion out there that what Romeo sees in Juliet is, in fact, his best friend?


kj said...

Just a quick note--it would be more than just not sharing the stage. Time to change costumes would be required as well—particularly back and forth from a male role to a female role. And size is also to be considered. Would both roles made a part too long for one actor to accomplish?


Bardiac said...

Interesting question. I used to hear a rough 100 lines minimum to change costume for doubling. That's rough, of course.

But, I looked, and Juliet exits in 1.3.105. There are two lines, and then Mercutio enters with Romeo and the gang. So without some juggling, I don't think they could double.

In 1.4, Mercutio and the gang are on with Romeo. Serving men enter, and then "exeunt" (which seems to be for the servants) but Romeo stays on (at least he speaks in a little bit, and doesn't have a new entrance), so that would leave Mercutio and Benvolio etc all on stage when Romeo and Juliet meet unless they exit when the servants do, and before the Capulet party starts. (That seems odd to me, since they'd be leaving Romeo all alone with the Capulets. But there's no separate exit marked for them.) And even if you have Mercutio exit with the servants, Julio comes in with the Capulet partiers right after the servant exit.

But I think it's an interesting idea!

Michael Selkirk said...

Regarding Helena as a gay man, my company TITAN Theatre does a "Midsummer" where all the roles except Puck are picked out of a hat by the audience each night. It was pretty awesome.