Fullerton College's current production of "Romeo and Juliet" can, be judged by the audience in several different ways. If they're not acquainted with Shakespeare's works, they may be a little bored or generally disappointed in the play. If they are acquainted with the story, but have never seen "Romeo and,. Juliet" enacted'" 'before, the production may have been fascinating and quite enjoyable.
However, a third faction is one I feel to be most important - those that saw Franco Sefferelli's movie version have quite a lot to compare the play to. Maybe this is not quite fair to FC's actors, considering a play and a movie are different mediums, but since I'm sure a large portion of the audience did see the movie, it must be considered a valid criteria for comparison. After all, it is the way an audience responds that measures a play's success.
True, the play was well done. The stage settings were well designed and more than adequate for the many different scenes which take place. The costumes were absolutely magnificent.On first glance, the actors fit their respective parts perfectly, and for the remainder of the play they continue to do so, but not quite as perfectly.
I began to compare them with Zefferelli's actors. Little differences began to get bigger until they became faults.
Romeo, (Chris Codel) reminded me of Zefferelli's Leonard Whitting, and so was acceptable to me. He was fairly adept and his looks fit the part.
However, Juliet (Pamela Brull), seemed to fit the role in the beginning, with the pretty face and the long flowing hair. But she was not able to express the passion of her love for Romeo. Her high voice fit the part of the young girl, but I have always pictured Juliet as a soft-spoken Italian.
Richard Blomgren, as Mercutio, was really able to display his versatility. He gave a fine performance as the funny, serious and angry friend of Romeo. The drunken scene while he and Benvolio are searching for Romeo after the Capulet's party really set the audience to laughing. Even during his serious swordfight with Tybalt, Blomgren was able to add humor. His dying "cures on both your houses!" is powerful.
Patty Corbett as the nurse did a marvelous portrayal of the overly enthusiastic peasant woman. John Serembe as the braggart Tybault is a good bragger, but a little weak on the .. ,bully side. Benvolio was fair. Lord and Lady Capulet and Lord and Lady Montague did not portray the powerful, dignified personages they were to have been. John Winstead added some contemporary humor, which was well received.
I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about the actor's differences to the Zefferelli characters bothers me. Maybe it is only the lack of experience of the FC players in comparison to the professional actors.
If this is the case, this production's characters have a fine potential which I hope they have the opportunity to fulfill.
Don't forget the other faction of possible audience participants - those. that love the story of. "'Romeo .and. Juliet" but,have not seen the Zefferelli version. I'm sure they will enjoy the play immensely.
"Romeo and Juliet" continues tonight at 8 in the Campus Theatre. Tomorrow night at 8 will be the final performance. Adults are $1.75 and students only $1. For more information, call 871-7000, ext. 77.