Paul Wills' design: Verona
A model box image of the Verona set created by the designer Paul Wills to allow the scenic workshop to envisage what the finished set should look like. The production is set in three worlds – Verona, Milan and the wilderness. Verona is a quaint and sleepy place, centred around a café which is owned by Antonio, Proteus's father. The heart shaped bunting suggests it is Valentine's Day.
Notes in the rehearsal room
'All happiness bechance to thee in Milan!' Proteus, Act 1 Scene 1
These rehearsal notes reflect the glamour, style and contemporary setting of Milan, which contrasts with parochial Verona.
In the rehearsal room, notes like these are used to capture the mood and location of the world in which the production is set.
Movement in the show
In this rehearsal image we see the acting company warming up. The production featured exuberant movement, choreographed by Jonathan Goddard, but was most notable in the scenes set in the world of Milan. The movement in the show complemented the contemporary setting of Italy and was a counterpoint to the sustained musical score.
Party time: Milan
In this production image the party is in full swing in Milan, where Proteus has arrived in search of his friend, Valentine. The contemporary set, costumes, music and dance blend together to suggest the vibrancy of the location and the youthfulness of the lovers.
'Well skill'd in music'
'Let us into the city presently
To sort some gentlemen well skilled in music' Turio, Act 3 Scene 2.
Michael Bruce's score highlighted the disjunction between a provincial, antiquated Verona and a vibrant, urban Milan. As the RSC's Head of Music, Bruce O'Neil, notes: 'Music can often be a barometer of the differences in taste between generations'. The CD of music for this production is available in the RSC shop.
A scary, edgy world
A model box image of the wilderness set created by the designer Paul Wills. This is a rugged, scary and edgy world where anything can happen. This menacing, primitive world starkly contrasted with the vivid sophistication of Milan.
Braziers and old containers on the stage (shown here strewn around the thrust stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre) suggest the primeval elements of fire and water in the forest.
Trapped in the forest
'Are you content to be our general?
To make a virtue of necessity
And live as we do in this wilderness?' Second Outlaw, Act 4 Scene 1
In this production image we see how Paul Wills' camouflaged set is used to dramatic effect as the outlaws trap Valentine and Speed in the wilderness. At this moment the actors were hoisted into mid-air, utilising the skills of the RSC's automation department and the 18 metre space above the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre stage.
One man and his dog
'Love and a bit with a dog, that's what they like.'
Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, Shakespeare in Love, 1999
Lance and his dog Crab provide the comedic counterpoint to other relationships in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Mossup, who played Crab, is a female lurcher, echoing the cross-gender disguise that Julia uses as Sebastian. Roger Morlidge, who played Lance, is seen with his canine partner outside the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Learn more about Mossup in the Video section.