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Sunday, 16 August 2009

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Tracy Holsinger will direct a play called ‘After Juliet’ written by Scottish playwright Sharman Macdonald whose daughter Keira Knightley acted in the play as a young girl. The play is actually based on her original idea.The story was inspired by William Shakespeare with original music composition by Caleb Knightley.

The characters in the drama are the Montagues from Romeo’s side encompassing Benvolio and Valentine while the Capulets are Juliet’s cousin Rosaline (where Keira performed the first character at the National Theatre, London), Bianca, Helena, Rona, Alice, Livia, Gianni and Petruchio. ‘After Juliet’ was commissioned for the 1999 NT Shell Connections programme, in which regional youth theatre groups compete to stage short plays by established playwrights. The basic premise of the play, following on from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is “What happened to the Capulets and Montagues after Romeo and Juliet died”.

The setting of ‘After Juliet’ is described as “Verona. Or it could be Edinburgh, Dublin, Birmingham, New York, or Liverpool. It could be 1500, 1900, 2000 or 3000”. The only place that ‘After Juliet’ cannot be set is Glasgow, as one of the characters, Rhona, is from Glasgow, and away from home. Keira Knightley appeared in Heatham House Youth Centre’s NT Connections production, which made the regional finals and it continues to be performed by youth groups all over the world making it a popular drama.

The play revolves around Rosaline, Juliet’s cousin and Romeo’s ex-flame. Tortured by the loss of her love, Rosaline has become a sullen, venomous woman. She actively seeks to be elected the ‘Princess of Cats’ and runs the Capulet family. Meanwhile, the Capulets and Montagues have obeyed Prince Escalus and called a truce.

The treaty quickly descends into a farce as both sides continue to rage against each other. Amid the turmoil more doomed love springs- between Benvolio Montague and Rosaline. Benvolio is warned by Valentine (Mercutio’s twin brother) to stay away from her if he knows what’s right.

The climax of the play comes after Rosaline has succeeded Tybalt as the Princess of Cats and seeks to destroy her sworn enemies, the Montagues. A 2009 youth, stage version of the show featured Valentine as the twin sister of Mercutio; this added an extra storyline where Valentine is in love with Benvolio and is jealous of Rosaline. Benvolio’s final scene ends with Valentine running off stage after his rejection.

(Source:Wikipedia)

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