Credit: Luxembourg Ballet Asbl

Luxembourg Ballet Asbl has announced the premiere of Romeo and Juliet at CUBE521 Marnach, set to take place on Saturday 29 June at 20:00 and Sunday 30 June 2024 at 17:00.

This is a production within the framework of the campaign “Lëtzebuerg, dat ass Vakanz” of Luxembourg’s Ministry of the Economy, and supported by the Ministry of Culture.

This production features internationally-renowned principal dancers from the Miami City Ballet and the English National Ballet.

Over four hundred years ago, one of the most famous playwrights of all time created an epoch-spanning tale of love and death, fate and free will. According to Luxembourg Ballet, similar stories existed at the time: the couple Mariotto and Ganozza by Italian writer Masuccio Salernitano, later adapted by Luigi da Porto as Giulietta and Romeo. The legend of Pyramus and Thisbe in Ovid's Metamorphoses, a pair of legendary, ill-fated lovers from Babylon, was taken up before Shakespeare by Giovanni Boccaccio, and is regarded as the archetype of the "star-crossed lovers". Nevertheless, Shakespeare's tragedy lasting popularity along the years.

After numerous adaptations, most watchers today are acquainted with the story of the two rival families in Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets: Romeo Montague sneaks into a Capulet masquerade ball, where he meets Juliet Capulet, who is supposed to marry Count Paris, the choice of her father. Romeo and Juliet fall in love at first sight and arrange a secret wedding with the help of the monk Lawrence. However, Romeo's attempt to stop a duel leads to the murder of Juliet's cousin Tybalt, and as a result, Romeo is banished from Verona. To avoid being forced to marry Paris and to be reunited with Romeo, Juliet agrees to a plan devised by Brother Lawrence. Juliet’s death is supposed to be faked with the help of a sleeping draught. Romeo is to be notified of this plan, but the delivery of the message fails. When he falsely learns of Juliet's death, he returns to Verona. Convinced to have found Juliet dead in the Capulets' tomb, Romeo takes his own life. A short time later, Julia awakes from her deathlike sleep. Shocked by Romeo's death, she grabs her lover's dagger and commits suicide as well.

Luxembourg Ballet noted it turned its attention to the interplay of light and darkness in the tale. "More light and light: our suffering is getting darker and darker," says Romeo the night after the secret wedding. Choreographer Volha Kastsel breaks the symbolic light of the tragedy into distinguishable shades of colour, those of love, death, fate and free will. Brother Lawrence plays a special role here, as these colour nuances can be seen through his figure. The kind-hearted cleric acts as a moral compass throughout the storyline. He talks about the dichotomy in man, able to do good or evil with the same means. Romeo himself is the incarnation of this aphorism: driven by love, he deifies Juliet, but at the same time, he can murder to be reunited with his beloved one.

Brother Lawrence is also the most intriguing character of the tragedy: he helps Romeo and Juliet get married with the intention of ending hostilities in Verona and devises a deceptive plan that seems to originate from almost mystical knowledge. While Brother Lawrence's plans appear well-intentioned to avoid fate, it also serves as the mechanism that brings about that fate. "Destiny makes room for our strength; it opposes only the sluggish, the weak-willed," wrote Shakespeare. For choreographer Kastsel, the power of love creates the leeway to face fate.

The play ends with the words of Prince Escalus, ruler of Verona, parallelling the colours of tragedy and the daylight: "Only gloomy peace brings us this morning; The sun shines, shrouded in sorrow..." The paradox of the gloomy-shiny morning represents the mystery that every seeker of meaning is confronted with sooner or later. Death separates, after the fate spells unhappiness of the "star-crossed lovers", Luxembourg Ballet concludes.

Tickets cost €12 (youth under 26) or €26 and are available at the following website: