How has the balcony scene been done in performance?
In the text, Romeo climbs the orchard wall to see Juliet at the start of Act 2. He sees her in her window and then climbs up to talk to her. Traditionally, this scene is staged using a balcony outside Juliet's window, but she could be anywhere higher than Romeo.
You can take a look at the things to consider here and investigate the different ways we’ve presented Verona in performances at the RSC in this picture gallery. There is also an opportunity to watch the scene being performed and to look at the Balcony Scene in more detail by investigating Act 2 Scene 2.
Investigate Act 2 Scene 2
As you look through the images and photographs from past productions of Romeo and Juliet, think about:
- The choices the designer has made for the balcony. In Nancy Meckler's 2006 production Juliet stands at the top of a ladder, creating a height difference between her and Romeo, and the 1992 production uses a scaffold-like structure. How does this affect the way the actors interact with each other? What impact do you think it has on the scene, if Romeo has to overcome an obstacle to reach Juliet?
- How the relationship between Romeo and Juliet develops in the scene and how the way it is staged adds to this. What do you notice about Juliet's body language, particularly in the images where she is still apart from Romeo? Is this similar in each of them or are there any productions that stand out as different?
- The similarities in the way they are staged and the performance choices. Juliet is wearing white, even prepared for sleep, in several of the images including the 1996 production. What does this suggest about her and how does this compare to the way Romeo appears in these same pictures? In the 2010 production she is dressed in black, in the same costume she wore during the Capulet ball. Does this change your impression of her as a character?
What would the balcony be in your production of Romeo and Juliet? How would this change the scene?