Online play analyses Mercutio’s friendship with Romeo

Published: 2 March 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

A “less mainstream interpretation”: Mercutio’s Romeo and Juliet

New East Midlands company Anegada Theatre has produced a retelling of one of Shakespeare's tragedies, Mercutio’s Romeo and Juliet, which is available free online.

Writer and director Tara Anegada, a Masters student studying creative writing at the University of Nottingham, said the play “combines iambic pentameter, free indirect discourse and naturalism to reframe Mercutio's friendship with Romeo”.

She has written and directed several productions for Nottingham New Theatre including Pilgrimage in 2020 and Eve and Adam in 2019.

Dramaturg and assistant director is Joseph Holmes-Milner who said, “words are powerful weapons in the play. For Juliet, they affirm her love with Romeo. For Mercutio, they are torturous accounts of what loving Romeo must be like. Words are the only vehicle he has to express his realisation that he loves Romeo."

Barney Hartwill who plays Mercutio is a Nottingham-based actor whose professional credits include Fine, Thanks with Lund Theatre Company at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2017 and the Savoy Theatre in 2019. He has also acted in a range of productions with Nottingham New Theatre.

He said, "I think the contrast between Mercutio's public and private personas has been a huge acting challenge but one I've really enjoyed. Reimagining Shakespeare's relationships has given us the chance to showcase a less mainstream interpretation of Romeo and Juliet."

Sofia Bassani who plays Juliet is a member of the National Youth Theatre. Her acting credits with Nottingham New Theatre include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Vehement and Forgetfulness Therapy, all in 2019.

She said, "at the start of the play, Juliet is definitely feeling trapped by the world around her and society's expectations of her. Falling in love with Romeo empowers her to make her own decisions and I think our Juliet is definitely more autonomous than Shakespeare's original character."

Production manager is Zoe Smith, stage manager is Jasmine Butler and Sam Osborne is sound designer.

Mercutio’s Romeo and Juliet was filmed live at NonSuch Studios, Nottingham. The 45-minute production is available on YouTube.