"The Balcony Scene"

Director Chris Steele

This episode explores the role of gender in Shakespeare (and Romeo and Juliet specifically) by looking at the casting practices and gender assumptions of the 1590s until the present day. By questioning the heternormativity of 20th versions of the play, often considered “traditional,” our three takes will look at how casting has changed over the centuries and highlight the role of gender-queerness in understanding the play and its language.

Between takes, our multi-gender, multi-racial team of artists will share the reasons behind their directing, acting, and design choices, offer personal stories about their connection to the play, and share their favorite lines from the scene.

The curriculum content will provide topics for discussion and written reflection such as:

  • Why are we still studying Shakespeare? How can these plays that are hundreds of years old have anything to do with the present moment?
  • Which character did you identify with in each scene interpretation? what changed, what was the same?
  • How does the dynamic of the balcony scene change the nature of the interaction between the characters? How did intimacy change in each interpretation?
  • What has changed in our understanding of gender from the 1590s to the present day? What time period did you most connect to in regards to your own experience of gender?

Takes On Shakes - Romeo and Juliet:
Director -
Chris Steele
Project Manager
- Ella Francis*
Production Manager - Pratiksha Shah
Curriculum Developer - Rebecca J. Ennals
Production Team - Christian Haines, Gabriella Howell, Brittany Mellerson
Performers - Bidalia Albanese, Ron Chapman, Danielle Ferrer, Akaina Ghosh*, Charlie Lavaroni, Carolina Morones, Joshua Waterstone
(*Resident Artist of SF Shakes)