Playing Mercutio in ‘Romeo & Juliet’ 1983
Thirty years ago, possibly to the week, I performed in a university production of Romeo & Juliet as Mercutio. I’ve just been watching, to my horror, a digitised copy from the Betamax original.
That’s me with the spindly legs in the white tights.
Not suprisingly, more so than a diary entry, this takes me to the moment. Minutes later the large nappy pin holding up my hose (the stuffed, bulbous pants) comes undone. I complete the fight to the death having pulled up my hose more than once – laughter and awareness rather spoils the moment and more liek Franky Howard than Shakespeare I die on the line ‘A plague on my underpants’.
Fascinating that even in silhouette I would have recognised my teenage son in how I move.
My wife tells me I don’t speak like that any more.
Cruel and revealing to me that I was so dependent on the director – in this amateur production I minch about more like Malvolio from Twelfth Night.
My fascination in memory is pricked by this.
There is value in forgetting and not having a record of past events yet wearable technology is gradually making it possible to keep a record of everything we do – both visual and audio. Our perceptions are altered by the recalling of a memory. Though of course, this particular memory is still not my visual memory as my perspective will always be caught up in this scene.