Rationale for staging the balcony scene from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet in Covent Garden

Essay by tonyblainCollege, UndergraduateB, September 2014

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� PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT �1� Tony Blain, Critical Practise II: Space (2013 - 2014) Rationale for staging the balcony scene from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet in Covent Garden

Staged as part of last years London 2012 Festival and the Mayor of London Presents programme, award-winning actor and director, Mark Rylance, devised the performance piece What You Will: Pop-Up Shakespeare. As part of the piece a group of fifty actors took to the cobbles of Covent Garden to perform a flashmob performance to the unsuspecting public. The Guardian's Arts correspondent, Mark Brown, reported the event:

"It began at 2pm yesterday with two men shouting about football across the cobbles of Covent Garden. The first man on a balcony, a countertenor, then broke into "Full fathom five thy father lies, the song sung by Ariel in The Tempest. The second responded by singing Ode to Joy from Beethoven's ninth. Then a full flashmob joined in with about 50 performers in silly wigs singing songs."�

A woman who witnessed the performance said of the event: "We were a bit confused to be honest with you," […] Someone did come over with a bit of paper "but we thought he might want money so we ignored him."� In a video on the official YouTube channel for Mayor of London Presents, another member of the public is treated to a personal performance of Sonnet 29. The man is made to feel uncomfortable and so begins to walk away and when at the end he is told: "You've just been Shakespeared."� To which the man responds: "No. I never."� Both of these reactions go totally against Mayor of London, Boris Johnson's view that: "This is a delightful way to break down those self-imposed barriers.'� I began to think that maybe if the flashmob performance...