Lady Capulet Teaches About Communicating With Your Inner Child

Rehearsing and performing Romeo and Juliet with the Willow Globe Company has, as ever, brought important life issues to my attention. I am playing Lady Capulet and I admit it was a bit of a challenge to "find" her in rehearsals. Our directors Phil and Sue are fantastic and always say we don't have to worry about that but let the words speak for themselves - and they really do. Shakespeare is amazing at packing acres of character and information into a couple of lines. But still, there were many scenes in which I was on stage but not saying anything and as any actor knows, that is when you're really tested. Can you get something across to the audience without saying anything?
The answer of course is yes, and most of who Lady Capulet is in my performance comes across in her reactions and facial expressions. We are now more than ever a society of words, particularly with the prevalence of texting, tweeting and ever-changing Facebook statuses! But we can lose so much substance without body language, expressions and someone's physical energy to refer to. This silent conversing can tell us so much about who someone really is and the true meaning behind their words. I have noticed an increase in people feeling inadvertently insulted or put down by comments they've received in an email or a text and I can understand why. When you have just the words to go on you tend to take them purely at face value, when actually the inference behind them can be anything but what is actually being said. As every sarcasm and irony-loving Brit will know!
So that was lesson number one - the vital importance of non-verbal communication. I dearly hope that with the growth of instant virtual chatting we don't lose these more intuitive methods of relating through gestures and expressions. When it really comes down to it, reading "I love you" in an email or text doesn't hold half as much warmth as an all-embracing hug, or a warm and sympathetic glance from a pair of understanding eyes.
So on to lesson number two. I had a telling conversation during the rehearsal of the classic "rebellious daughter" scene with the actors playing my husband Lord Capulet and my daughter Juliet. I have two sons so I have never experienced the mother/daughter dynamic from the maternal point of view, and was lucky enough to have a wonderfully close relationship with my own mother so there wasn't much personal experience I could carry over into this more spiky partnership. My Juliet filled me in on some of the difficulties and challenges from her experience, and we all swapped stories about our own parents, their relationships and how that affected us as children. What was fascinating was that all of us could see (and the oldest of us is approaching 70) that we still modified our adult behaviour and reactions according to our childhood experiences. The child in all of us was still to some extent caught up in past events and it was that child that responded to current crises, not the adults we are now. In my spirit release work I know and understand the importance of inner child work to facilitate wholeness and harmony in someone, but the far-reaching implications of this have never been so clearly presented to me in the course of one conversation.
In the end I think connecting these two vital concepts together brought me to what I feel is a sensible and rounded portrayal of Lady Capulet. She was being faced, in the shape of her own daughter, with the mistakes and mistreatment she herself had suffered at the same age and it was extremely difficult to stomach.The child she had been was at odds with the adult she had become and this meant that what she said was often only half the story. Her body language, how she said things, and when and why she didn't say them at all, were the true keys to making sense of this sad and frustrated woman.

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