Romeo and Juliet Creative Project Reflection

“By that sin fell the angels. – William Shakespeare

The central theme for our project revolved around the idea of tragedy and star-crossed lovers, or more the absence of it. Romeo and Juliet may be interpreted as a timely love story to many, but from our perspective, it is a story about forbidding and forgiving, and a love that was single-sided and never meant to be. Having watched and read the play over several times, we have developed a new and better understanding of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Romeo and Juliet, both young and beautiful, met by fate and fell in love at first sight. However, as the story proceeds, it is prevalent that Juliet is the more mature and a faithful lover than Romeo. Romeo did love her, yet he was more in love with the idea of loving her. Whilst Juliet’s blinding love for Romeo led her to make impetuous decisions that would flip her world upside down, Romeo’s vulnerability to his emotions was the cause of the growth of his love for Juliet, and eventually the root of his spontaneity. Hence, this new realization was the main inspiration for the production of our video.

Juliet is the symbol of true love. Love evolves, and so does Juliet. Juliet begins off as a naïve and innocent character that depends on Romeo for support and comfort. However, she matures and faces a turning point as she experiences loneliness, betrayal, and heartbreak. By the loss of innocence, she realizes that love must not control her, but she must learn to control love on her own. Therefore, we focused on this mental growth of Juliet and illustrated it in the movie quite literally. In the video, Juliet enters a new dimension of pure beauty and peace, or more simply: heaven, after death. She begins her journey by meeting the superior guidance of an angel, who would eventually lead her to Romeo. In this first scene, it introduces curiosity and reliance. These are both premature depictions of Juliet when she first fell in love with Romeo. From then on, the story progresses, and Juliet can be seen passionately and also independently seeking for Romeo. Finally, she ends her quest when she climbs up a series of stairs leading her to heavens peak, to find her lover looking down upon her at the top of a majestic building. By this time the angel has disappeared and Juliet is completely alone. She is independent. Climbing to the top of the stairs symbolically portrays the attainment of nirvana and of love; love which was so difficult and love which was a sin during their lifetime. Therefore, this leads us to our interpretation of Shakespeare’s quote: “By that sin fell the angels.” The sin was their attachment to a possessive love, the human love, as we know it.  The angels are the unconditional lovers. This means, the divine love inside of them, fell into the attachment of a possessive love and the only way Romeo and Juliet could free themselves was through death.

We encountered many problems during the making of this video. Our burst of ideas led us to come up with a very long list of things to record and produce. We downloaded three different compositions of the love theme from Romeo and Juliet, called ‘A Time for Us’, and transposed the keys so that the separate versions could be played as one duet. We had to write the violin part separately, because only piano scores were available online. Then came the problem with filming. We did not know how to portray heaven in an accurate way, so we decided to go to Pattaya over the three day weekend to film it along the beach. We needed to film at dawn when no one was around; however, it rained in the morning and our trip to Pattaya only became another event which consumed our time to complete the project. Our introduction seemed too short and vague, but we didn’t want to necessarily explain completely what we were about to show, because it was up to the audience to interpret the story. In the end, we researched landmarks around Bangkok and Nonthaburi where we could find our requirements such as staircases, bridges and lots of greenery. We found two different locations and took the whole day filming different scenes and putting them together with the music; making sure that the video synchronized with the music in a way that the emotion could be portrayed to the audience without putting in words. For example, when the intensity of the song increased, and neared the climax, Juliet spots Romeo and runs up the stairs towards him. The music builds on, and so does Juliet, climbing higher up the stairs to reach her lover. We ended the video with the holy palmer’s touch, showing that at the end of the long and difficult journey, Juliet and Romeo finally come together, both spiritually and physically. They reunite in the same way as when they first met at the Capulet’s ball, feeling that same rush of overwhelming yet foreign excitement and joy.

Overall, we are extremely happy with our finished production and have learned numerous things. These include learning to improve on managing time and developing a well thought-out plan. Also, we learned that even the most classical and emblematic stories such as Romeo and Juliet can have many different interpretations, and they can be represented in many different ways, such as music, film, dance, drawing, etc. We learned that words are not the only form of communication, but that imagery and sound can evoke emotions within, thus making it a profound connection to oneself. Perhaps that connection is love.

Written and created by Jin Ahn and Sarah Poff

Jin’s Blog: https://blogs.isb.ac.th/yeonjina/