While some might consider Paris an antagonist in Romeo + Juliet, I can’t help but see him in a sympathetic light. We first meet this fine gent at the Capulet ball as he dances with Juliet in “Come What May”, only to turn away at the most inopportune moment, and lose her attentions forever once she meets Romeo.
Paris is clearly taken with Juliet, but can you blame him? She’s beautiful, clever and full of life. After working hard to win her father’s favour, we next see him chasing after her in “Never Gonna Happen”, only to be, quite brutally, rebuffed.
Then finally, upon hearing of her “death” that is in fact only a ruse to fool him, the poor mourning Paris faces Romeo in the street in “The Wild Boys”, where he too falls as a result of these tragic twists of fate. It’s all really quite sad, isn’t it?
When the prospect of a second Company for Romeo + Juliet became necessary, Gwenny Cosgrove was one of the first people I invited to audition. If she hadn’t been taking time away from Second Life at the time of the play’s start, she would have been one of my picks for a role in Romeo + Juliet from the very start of our production way back in April.
I’ve known Gwen for almost 2 years now, and we’ve shared a lot together. She was one of the Kama’s most reliable and consistent entertainers, I was the Maid of Honour at her wedding, and now, she’s our Paris. There is something about Gwen being around that makes me feel very, very comfortable, as if all is more normal in the virtual world. One thing experience has taught me is that my Second Life just isn’t the same without her in it.
I had a chance to ask her a few questions about participating in Romeo + Juliet, and this is what she had to say:
Becky: What did you first think when you heard about being considered for a part in Romeo + Juliet?
Gwen: I was really very happy to hear I had the part. 🙂 I instantly felt very excited to learn more about the process of performing a play within SL, especially as I had just found out I was to be involved in one.
Becky: So how did you find the audition process?
Gwen: Surprisingly, I found the audition more nerve-wracking than any of the performances I’ve done. I guess it was because I was completely new to the concept and wasn’t sure if my audition was what you expected or not. But I’m very glad I did it, even if I had to start again because I messed up. If I let fear get the better of me I’d never have got the chance to experience performing.
Becky: Yes! I’m so glad you didn’t! Do you think the story of Romeo + Juliet is still relevant today? Why or why not?
Gwen: Whilst the times are very different now to when Romeo + Juliet was set, I still think it has relevance to today. It’s a common thing for someone to not date another person, despite their feelings, because it would damage their reputation, which I honestly think is a shame.
Becky: It is. How would you describe your character’s personality? Strengths, weaknesses?
Gwen: I honestly love my character. He isn’t the bad guy, just in this case he wasn’t lucky when it came to Juliet’s affections. I always feel kind of sorry for those kinds of characters, to be honest. Which is one reason I chose to play the role. As far as strengths though, it’s hard to say. I don’t think Shakespeare developed his character very well in the play, in my opinion. I do however think he is a proper gentleman. But as far as weaknesses go I think he is a little pushy, and thinks maybe thinks a tad too highly of himself.
Becky: I agree with you, he’s generally a decent guy who’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time I think. So, how do you feel when the curtain goes back at the start of your first scene?
Gwen: Excited to get going! I love it the feeling!
Becky: What were some of the challenges in preparing and performing this show?
Gwen:It was all a new, thrilling experience, but of course there was the occasional challenge. I found that technical issues could be a pain! But we got through them all, which is great. In my opinion it’s mostly gone swimmingly.
Becky: Mostly… but there have been some hiccups for sure. What was your most scary moment as you were performing the show?
Gwen: When the dance HUDs started failing us!
Becky: Oh yeah, that was terrible, and I think it’s pretty unanimous that that was indeed the scariest ever moment for everyone. Would you do something like this again if you had the chance?
Gwen: I’d jump at the chance.
- Romeo + Juliet Autumn Season Announced – All New Dates and Times (canarybeck.com)
- Getting to know Mercutio played by Syn Wytchwood (canarybeck.com)