In the Autumn of 2021, Mill Productions added to its series of online video drama projects to support the teaching of Shakespeare plays in school during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that continued for most of that year, resulting in the complete closure of theatres to the public. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was one of the plays on the curriculum for senior cycle school students studying the Leaving Certificate English course. Recorded at dlr Mill Theatre in Dundrum in the second half of 2021, the director and actors looked at key scenes from the play, focusing on analysis, rehearsal and performance.
In March of 2020, our production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was shut down in its final week to comply with the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Romeo and Juliet Project was designed to compliment students’ engagement with our work. Recorded at dlr Mill Theatre, Dundrum, we took key scenes and examined how they move from page to stage. Cast discussions, insights to key design choices and rehearsal footage all served to deepen understanding of what is at stake in the play.
In the introduction to the online presentations, director Geoff O’Keeffe, said: “The text of Romeo and Juliet only becomes a play when it is performed. The pandemic has meant that we have had to find new ways of engaging with you and showing you our performance of the text. We are waiting patiently, and are really looking forward to when we can fully reopen our theatres and welcome our audiences back again. In the meantime, we hope that you enjoy The Romeo and Juliet Project”.
The Romeo and Juliet Project was developed and directed by Geoff O’Keeffe, and produced by Karen Carleton.
In the short extract shown here, Michael James Ford speaks the lines of the Prologue as the other actors echo his words in a whispered chorus.
The actors who worked through the rehearsal process and performed the selected scenes were Felix Brown, Ethan Dillon, Michael James Ford, Niamh McAllister, Matthew O’Brien, and Rachel O’Connell.
The Narrator was Declan Brennan.
The creative team for the performances included Lighting Design by Kris Mooney and Sound Design by Declan Brennan.
The video production was recorded and edited by JACL Productions.