The orchestra, as sudden as thunder, is loud and unnerving. Of the noblemen of the houses Capulet and Montague, one strikes the other down, stomps on him, curses his blood, stomps on him repeatedly while the other yells and shrieks. The confusion induced by the initially foreign sound of Shakespearean English fuels the adrenaline of the crude display, a harbinger setting the tone for the tragedy yet to come.
It is the evening of June 20, a selection of year 10s and 11s alongside the respective English teachers travel to Landshut to find themselves bewitched by the London-based theatre troupe TNT Britain’s avant-garde iteration of William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’
After a tiresome hike to Trausnitz Castle, we find an impromptu stage and an arrangement of white plastic chairs in the shade of the courtyard. Amidst decadent drinks in the second row and glimpses of the actors’ accent the setup would have been humble if the atmosphere at the castle weren’t so complaisant. Even flattening the gravel floor by the feet of our chairs to place down our drinks had an air of refinement. Not to mention the play itself.
Romeo, a man noble and passionate, but melodramatic and distracted, is brought a spring in his step by the gracious Juliet. He assumes an unfulfillable love and forfeits what he has deemed the most desirable – the archetypal lovers Romeo and Juliet need no introduction. Each figure’s eccentricity deliberately shines in this iteration. As a result, the very scarce affinity for Shakespeare or archaic English, contrary to initial expectations, proved to hardly be a burden at all. Instead, a basic understanding of the plot – we recommend simply watching a Playmobil synopsis of your choice a few hours prior – sufficed as preparation, courtesy of the professionalism of the mere handful of actors, who proved significant perseverance and enthusiasm from start to finish.
Alas, the stage has emptied, left for a weeping Juliet. A phantom of a figure appears, cloaked in white, a by now familiar head of blond hair peeking out of a white hood. A serene hand on her back gives her a gentle push, makes her stand, makes her walk. Ghosts swaying to the sonata, a white cloak leads a white dress. An air of newfound determination, a point of no return – there is a unique charm to TNT Britain’s per-formances.
According to Mrs. Gratzer’s praising, the theatre troupe performed Hamlet amidst pouring rain two years prior. Words were lost to the sheer volume of the rainshower, yet the valiant actors’ commitment refused to waver: a force to be reckoned with. As is customary by now, TNT Britain returns to Trausnitz Castle this year once more, the program this time to be Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. On that note, we’re very much looking forward to another enchanting time travel this summer.
Text: Tansinee Stirn 11c; Fotos: C. Gratzer