So last night was the season premier of the San Francisco Ballet’s production of “Romeo & Juliet”. Or as I like to call it, “Romeo & OH MY GOD, WHY AM I STANDING IN A PUDDLE OF MY OWN TEARS?!??!?!!”
Any chance I get to go to the Ballet I cling onto like white on rice. I went earlier in the year with Helgi Tomasson’s “Swan Lake” and also cried silently to myself like a baby. But last night I was truly blown away. The dancers retold the timeless love story with such passion and zeal. Instead of feeling like I was watching two isolated dancers simply going through the motions of what they think the characters are feeling, I actually believed for a split second during their pas de deux that these were two people were actually in love. I think if a performance is able to make the audience believe that what you are watching has shades of truth (even if it is for a split second) then the performance has already triumphed.
Not only was the story-telling amazing, but the scenery was epic, layers of texture, rich in humanity and they even threw in a cameo of my favorite painting during the chapel scene. But all of the costumes, lighting, scenery and other mise en scène was instantly forgotten the moment that “Juliet” took the stage. Sarah Van Patten is truly one of the most amazing dancers I’ve seen. Not because she has the most amazing ponche or the highest jumps – more because I could watch her and honestly believe that she WAS Juliet. She emoted youthful hope and blind love. She threw herself into the role, and I too fell along with her.
Some believe that this rendition is too worn and dated. It originally premiered in 1994 and has been danced the same since then. I however, love the tradition of it. Sure, if I were regular theater goer and had seen this version performed for the past 16 years, then I too might be a little sick of it. However, I think that there is something special and comforting in knowing that this performance remains unchanged regardless of time and new flocks of principal dancers.
Simply put, if you have the means to go see this production- it would behoove you to do so! It’s not cheap, but its well worth it! You will walk away wondering to yourself when, in the past 2 hours, did my face become a floodgate? How did I miss the flash flood that apparently wiped off all my makeup?? Don’t miss this!