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Theatre / Romeo et Juliette: De La Haine a l'Amour

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"Aimer c'est ce qu'y a d'plus beau/Aimer c'est monter si haut..."

Roméo et Juliette, de la Haine à l'Amour ("Romeo and Juliet: From Hate to Love", though the subtitle is usually dropped in translations and the 2010 Paris revival was in fact known as Roméo et Juliette: Les Enfants de Vérone, which translates as "Romeo and Juliet: The Children of Verona") is a musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet by Gerard Presgurvic that premiered in Paris, France in 2001. It has since played in Canada, Belgium, Hungary, Russia, Austria, Mexico, Italy, South Korea, Romania and Japan (as well as the UK, but, well... the best that can be said for that production is that it did quite a bit better than Dance of the Vampires).

It follows many of the same story beats as Shakespeare's original play, but with enough differences to make it into its own beast. The Hungarian production is different enough from the others in terms of Alternate Character Interpretation and being considerably Darker and Edgier that it has its own separate section on this page.

The whole show can be watched in French, German and Hungarian (English subbed) on Youtube.

The French production, and most of the subsequent versions, include examples of:

  • Adaptational Jerkass: Italian Lord Capulet is the only one shown to be physically abusive towards Tybalt and Juliet.
  • All Musicals Are Adaptations
  • Anachronism Stew: The costumes in this show tend to look like Lady Gaga multiplied the fourteenth century by the late nineties. Mercutio in the Viennese production was dressed a bit like a Gangs of New York-style street brawler.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Death watches over everything in the French, Belgian, Russian and Japanese productions, in the form of a dancer wrapped in a trailing shroud. In Japan there is also a personification of Love.
  • Anti-Villain: Tybalt.
  • Arc Words: "Ama e cambia il mondo" ("Love and change the world") in the 2013 Italian production.
  • Big "NO!": Juliet unleashes one of these, or Rapid-Fire "No!", when Romeo dies.
  • Bittersweet Ending: As in Shakespeare, but with an extra touch of sweetness in the French production thanks to the implication that Benvolio and a Capulet girl will follow in Romeo and Juliet's footsteps but with the blessings of both families and a happy ending.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Let's just say that the lyrics of the London production tend to stray VERY far from the meaning of the original lyrics.
  • Bury Your Gays:
    • Some adaptations confirm Mercutio as having feelings for Romeo, or otherwise having sexual relationships with men. Unfortunately, he is Doomed by Canon, hence this trope.
    • Same thing applies to the Vienna production's Tybalt, who kisses Mercutio after fatally stabbing him.
  • Break the Cutie: Benvolio goes from bouncy sidekick to a broken young man who's had to watch one of his best friends die and the other be banished.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • The characters, led by the Prince, address the audience to welcome them to Verona in the opening number.
    • Juliet angrily calls out her elders during ''La mort de Juliette", but her words can be interpreted as railing at the audience for intruding on her grief, as she faces them while singing note  "I leave you with this absurd scene,".
  • Canon Foreigner: The Takarazuka Revue productions adds an Anthropomorphic Personification of Love in opposition to Death, making the events of the play the result of a dispute between the characters.
  • Closer to Earth: Lady Montague and Lady Capulet, though the former more than the latter.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The Montagues wear blue; the Capulets wear red. Some versions put Mercutio in bluish purple to indicate that while he may be mainly a Montague sympathizer, he's not actually one of them. In the Italian and Hebrew productions, the Prince and his court have yellow on their clothing.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Romeo is torn between his marriage to Juliet and the fact that his two best friends are not happy about it.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: In the Vienna production, Romeo holds Julia's unconscious body close while rocking back and forth.
  • Cute Mute: The original production had "La Muette", a servant of the Capulets who transcribed the songs into sign language. The Nurse is protective of her, and although Benvolio teased her unkindly at first, by the end they are implied love interests.
  • Dance Battler: All of the fighting is incorporated in the choreography, with liberal doses of Foe Romance Subtext to portray the duality of love and hatred.
  • Dark Reprise: There's one of "Verone" in Act II.
  • Death Song: Guess. In a case of Exactly What It Says on the Tin, there are three: Le mort de Mercutio, Le mort de Romeo, and Le mort de Juliet.
  • Death Wail: Romeo goes for one of these after Mercutio's death, and again as he confesses to killing Tybalt to avenge Mercutio.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: One of the biggest flaws in the French and German lyrics is how many of them consist largely of repetition, particularly within the choruses of the songs. The Belgian, Russian and Hungarian translations fare better.
  • Disappeared Dad: Lord Montague is totally absent from most productions (all but the Takarazuka Revue and British versions). Lady Montague is a widow.
  • Dramatic Irony: Juliet wonders happily in Le balcon that to which star or which god she owes their love, and remarks that someone above must be smiling at both of them. The audience knows that they're the Star-Crossed Lovers - if anything, that smile should be a sadistic one.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: In the Italian version, Mercutio pulls Romeo into a full mouth kiss with his last breath.
  • Ear Ache: In the Austrian production, Benvolio gets this from Lady Montague by being flippant about Romeo's whereabouts.
  • False Friend: Mercutio, Benvolio and all of the young Montagues accuse Romeo of being one of these once his marriage to Juliet becomes known.
  • Friendship Song: Les rois du monde, partially.
  • Gender Flip: Death is played by a woman in the French, Belgian and Japanese versions but a man in Russia and Mexico.
    • In the Japanese version, Death is played by an otokoyaku (male role actress), so the character is male, even if the actress is female.
  • Grief Song: Aside from the obvious Le mort de Romeo and Le mort de Juliette, there's also Duo du désespoir.
  • Hakuna Matata: "Les Rois du Monde". Particularly notable for the underlying irony that even if you didn't know Benvolio is the only member of the Power Trio to survive the story, there's still the fact that if Romeo and Mercutio survived, they'd eventually end up in the positions of remote power they mock in this song.
  • "I Am" Song: C'est pas ma faute for Tybalt.
  • "I Want" Song: "Un jour" ("One Day").
  • In Love with Love: Romeo, according to Benvolio (at least in the Austrian production).
  • Kick the Dog: Vienna production: Tybalt laughing and clapping sarcastically in the background of Mercutio's dramatic death scene. Earlier, he literally kicked Mercutio after stabbing him.
  • Kissing Cousins: Tybalt loves Juliet.
  • Large Ham: The Viennese Lady Capulet gets her moments, especially after Tybalt's death. Her lines can only be described as dramatic ear-piercing screeching.
  • Let's Duet: Aimer, Duo du désespoir, La haine.
  • Location Song: Welcome to Vérone. Also a Setting Introduction Song.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Tybalt. Death herself can also be seen this way in the French and Belgian versions.
  • Mad Oracle: Strangely, Luca Giacomelli Ferrarini seems to play Mercutio this way, amongst other notable traits.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: The Vienna production has a male example in Tybalt. He gets two scenes in which his abs aren't visible: the ball, and Paris' marriage proposal.
  • Only Sane Man: In most productions (one exception being the 2013 Italian production), Benvolio is a little less this than in the original stage play, though it's easy to interpret his portrayal in this as just wanting to belong somewhere and fighting alongside Mercutio is where he feels the most appreciated. However, he and Romeo take up this mantle together during Mercutio and Tybalt's duel in all versions.
  • Parental Love Song: Avoir une fille.
  • Parents as People: Lord Capulet really just wants what's best for Juliet and deeply loves her, if "Avoir une fille" ("To Have A Daughter") is any indication. He's just hapless at knowing what would really make her happy.
  • Pet the Dog: Even Death appears to take pity on the amount of grief Benvolio has to deal with, and seem like they wish to comfort him in "Comment Lui Dire".
  • Prince Charmless: Paris is definitely not the man for Juliet in this version.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Tybalt, sort of. While the subplot of Juliet's parents trying to marry her off to Paris remains intact, Tybalt is presented far more strongly as Romeo's romantic rival, and dislikes Paris about as much as he dislikes Romeo. (In the Hungarian adaptation, this is upgraded to outright aggression at the ball.) Of course, considering he's her cousin, Tybalt's love for Juliet is every bit as forbidden as Romeo's.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Shows up in the French and Russian cast albums in a few places.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Lady Montague in all productions (in Shakespeare, she's reported to have died offstage of grief when Romeo was exiled) and Paris in all but the Hungarian (in Shakespeare, the Hungarian adaptation, and the Italian adaptation, Paris is killed by Romeo at the Capulet tomb).
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: Juliet's name varies from production to production (Juliet, Juliette, Julia, Djulya, Julieta, Giulietta...). Tybalt's name was translated as Teobaldo in the Italian version. The family names vary too (Capulette and Montaigu in French, Capuletto and Montecchi in the Belgian, Italian and Russian productions, Capuleto and Montesco in the Mexican...).
  • Truer to the Text: The Italian version retains much more of the Shakespearean text than others, for example dialogue for the balcony scene, or little jokes like Mercutio taunting Tybalt by calling him a rat-catcher.
  • Villain Song: "C'est le jour".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Many productions end up giving this vibe between the Nurse and the Montague boys.
  • White Shirt of Death: Giulietta is wearing a white dress when she stabs herself.

The Hungarian version
"Two families fight to stay on top/There is no middle ground/How can I remain wise and sober ruling a keg of gunpowder?"
Attila Nemeth as Prince Escalus

The Hungarian production premiered in 2004 and is still playing in repertory in Budapest with the same rotating casts. Compared to the candy-colored, shiny aesthetic of the other productions, this version has frenetic choreography, costumes that can't be placed to any particular era, and a dark, grungy look that lends the whole thing a sense that it's less about True Love Above All and more about innocence crushed by corruption and violence. The song order was rearranged, and the Hungarian translator essentially adapted the songs rather than fully translated them, as well as added more dialogue to back up this version's specific differences. When the show premiered in Romania in 2009, it was a translation of this version in particular rather than the French.

The Hungarian/Romanian adaptation contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: The Capulets don't come out looking so good on either Juliet or Tybalt's accounts.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Paris seems like a vain, but fair guy in the original. In this version, his vanity is taken up to eleven, and after Juliette takes the potion and is believed to be dead, he sings a song about how he's been cheated by fate, making her "death" about him.
  • Anachronism Stew: Verona might as well be another planet as far as this production's concerned. The characters wear clothes completely unidentifiable by era but have photographs of each other. The ensemble aren't identifiable by faction.
  • Ascended Extra: Paris has one song and a few non-speaking appearences in the original. In this version he has three songs, including a duett reprise of "The Duel" with Romeo, before being killed by him, and a couple extra lines of dialoge with Lord and Lady Capulet, as well as a brief confrontation with Tybalt, where he teases that he knows about Tybalt's crush on Juliette.
  • Berserk Button: Juliet's virginity, for Tybalt.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Romeo doesn't kill Tybalt via a simple rapier stabbing. He slits his throat.
  • Broken Ace
  • Crapsack World: Verona. Hooooooly shit. The opening number shows a city effectively turned into a warzone by two Big Screwed-Up Families.
  • Darker and Edgier: Ye gods.
  • Dark Reprise: One of "Miért Fáj?" (the adaptation of "J'ai peur") replaces Romeo's original suicide song.
  • Death by Adaptation: Paris, though this does bring his subplot back to the Shakespeare original.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tybalt's justification for wanting to kill Romeo in the French one is for marrying Juliet. In here, his Roaring Rampage of Revenge is started by Romeo touching her.
  • Fiery Redhead: Mercutio on the DVD.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Romeo's reaction to discovering Juliet is "dead" is played as a full mental break that makes Juliet herself crossing the Despair Event Horizon a few minutes later seem sedate in comparison.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Huge swathes of the ensemble. Also, Tybalt.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms/Hurricane of Puns: Mercutio often talks in these. Also the refrains of "Kings of the World" includes the mention of legs wide apart, trousers down and cannons going bang.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Pretty much everybody, but special note goes to Mercutio somehow managing to pull off a red leather snakeskin jacket. And it's awesome.
  • Incest Subtext: Tybalt not only loves Juliet romantically, he also pretty plainly has some sexual attraction to his aunt (and Juliet's mother) Lady Capulet.
  • Jerkass: Mercutio does show some signs of this.
  • Lady Drunk: Lady Capulet.
  • Large Ham: Most of the cast tends to overact their role, especially compared to the rather tamed acting of the original.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Tybalt. And eventually Romeo.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Consistent with Shakespeare's text, Tybalt is sometimes played this way, though in some representations servants complain about him and compare him unfavorably to his father.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Invoked with some of the ensemble ladies and both Lady Capulet and Lady Montague.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Not the usual sort of pragmatism involved in adaptation, but still a key part of the differences between versions. It seems like the translator essentially took the basic point of each song- "the people who run the world don't have time to enjoy it", "love is the greatest thing in the world", etc.- and just wrote whatever fit that theme and the characters rather than actually providing full equivalents to the French ones. He also reordered songs-Tybalt's two solos swapped places, for example, and "C'est le jour" turned from a Villain Song to the Sanity Slippage Song "Ez a kez utoler" ("This is the hand that will strike") while "C'est pas ma faute" became the bitter, reflective "Belem egett" ("Burned into me")- and created new ones out of cut songs from the French (the "City on Fire"-esque "A teboly" shares a melody with Mercutio's onetime solo "La Folie").
  • Screaming Warrior: Tybalt on the DVD.
  • Smug Snake: Paris.
  • The Unfavorite: Tybalt is strongly implied to be this, except by his aunt.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In this version Benvolio's the one entrusted with the letter, but only knows that it's about love. After hearing the news, that Juliet has committed suicide, he misunderstands the letter, and thinks it's Juliet's good bye to Romeo. He's so distraught about him having to hand it over to Romeo, that in a fit of hysterical anger he tears it apart himself.
  • "What Now?" Ending: This version is so damn bleak that it's hard to read the end as anything but.