Imagine if Romeo & Juliet had made it into middle age
THE classic story of Romeo and Juliet has inspired countless variations, from the New York set West Side Story to animated garden romp Gnomeo And Juliet.
But Olivier- nominated dance / theatre company Lost Dog’s twist arguably takes the tale of Shakespeare’s doomed lovers, whose lives are cut short at the end of the original story, even further.
“I’ve allowed myself to imagine an alternate version to Shakespeare’s original,” says Lost Dog artistic director and performer Ben Duke.
“In this work Juliet and Romeo have been together about 25 years and they are in something of a marital crisis.
‘‘ They love each other, but sometimes they wish the other one were dead... the bloom of teenage romance has definitely faded, but it still haunts them.”
Lost Dog’s reimagining finds the once “star- crossed” pair from opposing families struggling with later life woes.
“Romeo is in a mid- life crisis; he is trying to let go of the passionate teenager he was and become a man. But he doesn’t have any clear idea what that man should look like so he is in limbo,” explains Ben.
“Juliet is very attached to the extraordinary teenager she was and is finding the ordinariness of her current life a struggle.”
Formed in 2004 by Ben and Raquel Meseguer to create work using text, movement and music in which dance is framed by stories and characters, Lost Dog have gone on to pick up a slew of international awards including The Bloomberg Place Prize for Dance, UK New Choreographers’ Award, and 2016 National Dance Award for Outstanding Male Performance.
Their version of Romeo And Juliet, which aims to explore contemporary culture’s celebration of youth and how it creates unrealistic expectations around love, sex and relationships, has been evolving slowly since its live debut.
“There have been a few changes to the show since we first performed it but the heart of the piece is the same,” says Ben of the work, which has been co- commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre.
“Juliet and Romeo are still trying to work out how to continue in this complicated game that is their relationship.”
Lost Dog: Romeo And Juliet visits Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, on November 7- 8. For more details, see www. warwickartscentre. co. uk
Ben Duke and Solene Weinachter in Romeo and Juliet.