these violent delights derives its name from a quote in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, “These violent delights have violent ends.” tvd builds upon the original text and takes place in the aftermath of the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. It follows Juliet’s Nurse as she deals with the death of Juliet and the idea of creating a monument made of gold in her honour.
tvd opens with Nurse wearing a nightgown and sitting in a chair with her back to the audience while images are projected onto boards that cover the sage. In the opening sequence, the boards move around the stage in a fluid motion before stopping at their assigned spots. As the show progresses, more and more actors of different genders are revealed, also wearing nightgowns-they are all playing the Nurse. As she discusses her feelings, we hear the actors’ natural voices and simultaneously a voice-over version of their lines. With the multiple voices and actors playing Nurse, it really feels like she is going through an internal battle.
tvd successfully discusses that there is no “correct” way to deal with loss, as people cope with it in their own ways. tvd also tackles the purpose of monuments. Yes, monuments are meant to honour those whom we lost, but what about people in the future? What about those who were not immediately impacted by their death? What good will the monument do for them? Nurse debates this idea, as she wants Juliet to be remembered, but is the monument made of gold, enough?
It was refreshing to see a play inspired by Shakespeare that wasn’t focused on the main characters. tvd took a popular play and effectively uses it to discuss loss and what monuments mean to people. Along with the new perspective on Romeo & Juliet, tvd also delivers in high production values.
I also had the chance to speak with tvd‘s director, Cole Lewis. Click here to listen to my interview.