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Synopsis

Synopsis of S4K's Romeo and Juliet, including (Song Titles).

For longer than anyone can remember the two noble families of Montague and Capulet have been engaged in a long-running feud. Recently the arguments have become more and more heated and have spilled over into repeated violence on the streets of Verona. (MONTAGUES AND CAPULETS). Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona decrees that any further civil disturbances will result in the death penalty for the perpetrators.

Lord and Lady Montague are concerned about the melancholy shrouding their only son Romeo. Benvolio, Romeo's friend and cousin, resolves to cheer him up. Romeo explains that he is in love with the beautiful Rosaline - and that his love is not returned. Benvolio advises Romeo to look for the many other beautiful girls to fall in love with. As chance would have it an illiterate servant passes by seeking help in reading the names on an invitation list. On the guest list for Lord Capulet's annual ball is the name of Rosaline. Benvolio suggests it would be the perfect opportunity to prove that there are women in Verona more beautiful than Rosaline.

With preparations underway for the ball, Lord Capulet hears the suit of Count Paris who wishes to marry Capulet's only daughter, Juliet. Although Capulet thinks his daughter may be too young for marriage, he invites Paris to the ball so he too can see all the beauties in Verona, before deciding whether Juliet is the fairest.

Lady Capulet rushes to Juliet's bedroom to tell her the news but needs the reassuring company of Juliet's Nurse. (I'M JULIET'S NURSE). Preparing to gatecrash the party, Romeo, Benvolio and the flamboyant Mercutio wait outside the gates of Capulet's mansion. Romeo tells his friends of a bad dream he had foreshadowing his own death. Mercutio tells the story of Queen Mab - the fairy who makes lovers dream their dreams. (QUEEN MAB).

Once inside the party (QUEEN MAB - reprise) the friends split up. Romeo is spotted by the hot-tempered Tybalt who wishes to repay Romeo's "insult" by striking him dead. Lord Capulet, wishing no trouble at his showpiece event, rebukes Tybalt who vows "revenge" at a later time. While looking around for Rosaline, Romeo sees and instantly falls in love with Juliet. (CAPULET'S PARTY) They dance together (ONE KISS) but are interrupted by the Nurse, who tells Juliet that she was dancing with Romeo Montague, the son of her father's greatest enemy.

On leaving the ball, Romeo slips away from his friends and finds himself in the private orchard outside Juliet's bedroom. Juliet appears on the balcony and speaks of her love for Romeo and how his name - Montague - will become the reason she can never see him again. (JUST HIS NAME) She is surprised, but pleased, when she finds Romeo outside her window. Both have fallen deeply in love with each other and they make plans to marry in secret as soon as possible.

Romeo goes straight to Friar Lawrence to seek his help. At first the Friar is unconvinced, but when he realises that by marrying Romeo and Juliet it may help end the bitter feud between the Montagues and Capulets, he agrees to perform the wedding.

The Nurse finds Romeo with his friends the next morning, and is told that the wedding arrangements have all been made. She rushes back to tell the news to an excited Juliet.

But later that day Tybalt is also out looking for Romeo and when he eventually finds him he provokes a fight. Romeo not wishing to fight with his new cousin is taunted by Tybalt. An incensed Mercutio steps in himself. Romeo desperately tries to stop any bloodshed, and while he pulls Mercutio away, a lunge from Tybalt fatally wounds his friend. Mercutio, cursing both families, dies in Romeo's arms. Enraged, Romeo impulsively stabs Tybalt, then flees the scene.

Prince Escalus decrees that Romeo is to be banished from Verona (BANISHED). Friar Lawrence urges Romeo to pull himself together, as the Nurse breaks the bad news to Juliet. While Juliet is secretly meeting with Romeo, Capulet offers the hand of his daughter to Paris. Romeo departs just as Lady Capulet arrives to tell Juliet about the forthcoming wedding plans. Juliet refuses to marry Paris, enraging her parents. When even the Nurse suggests marrying Paris would be a good idea, Juliet threatens to kill herself.

She visits Friar Lawrence who proposes a remarkable plan: he will give Juliet a potion which will make her appear dead for forty-two hours (MAGIC POTION BLUES). She would then be laid out in the Capulet tomb while the Friar writes to Romeo to arrange a secret rendezvous. Juliet returns home to find preparations for the wedding in full swing. She apologises to her father, who decides to bring forward the wedding to the next day, Wednesday (READY FOR THE WEDDING). Juliet drinks the potion (JULIET DRINKS THE POTION) and falls into a deep sleep. The Nurse discovers the seemingly dead Juliet and the family carry her to the Capulet tomb to lay her to rest.

In Mantua, a surprisingly optimistic Romeo awaits news from Verona (BANISHED IN MANTUA); but his servant Balthazar arrives with reports of Juliet's funeral procession. Romeo is determined to be reunited with his bride and buys some poison from an Apothecary before setting off back to Verona. Meanwhile Friar Lawrence learns that his message to Romeo outlining the plan was never delivered.

Paris arrives at the Capulet tomb to pay his respects to Juliet. Romeo arrives shortly afterwards and after a short fight fatally stabs Paris. He greets his wife with a kiss (ONE KISS - reprise) and after drinking the poison dies beside her. The Friar arrives too late to save Romeo. Juliet wakes but decides to stay with her husband; she kills herself with Romeo's dagger. Confusion reigns as the Capulets, Montagues and the Prince are summoned and all wonder about what has occurred. The Friar explains what has happened. Finally with a handshake Capulet and Montague agree to end their feud. (FINALE)


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