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Romeo and Juliet Scenic Design: Why the dolls?

By A Noise Within
March 28, 2016

In post-show conversations and survey responses, we’ve received a few inquiries about the dolls used on our production of Romeo and Juliet. Now, scenic and costume designer, Angela Balogh Calin shares her thought process.

Photo by Craig Schwartz.
Photo by Craig Schwartz.

In Romeo and Juliet, we use the dolls to visually underscore Juliet’s lost innocence. We constantly forget how young Juliet is in Shakespeare’s play and I’m using the dolls as a reminder that this 13-year-old girl must have been still playing with dolls and toys as she was falling in love with Romeo.

In the beginning of the play, Juliet is seen in her room playing with a handful of dolls. Then, she tosses them onto the floor. To me, that represents the moment she decides to leave her childhood behind and embark of this dangerous journey by defying her parents’ wishes.

I also wanted to make a statement about how too often children lose their innocence in order to survive in some of the world’s war torn areas. How many times we hear about hatred among nations, families, religions, honor killings, famines, and pandemics. We see children going hungry and suffering instead of playing and enjoying their youth. In a way, the dolls tied together represent the danger to come. The young should be sheltered and loved but not punished and pushed into desperate situations.

I know that it a harsh image, but I hope that it is thought-provoking.

A Noise Within’s Romeo and Juliet plays in repertory through May 8th. Please click here for tickets.

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