Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Trials and Tribulations of Young Love Explored; THE Voting for Shakespeare Campaign Launched by the Journal and the Theatre Royal Has Already Sparked Wide Interest. Here Is a Reminder of What Is at Stake and, below, Our First Essay by Shakespeare Expert CHRISTINE CHAPMAN Focusing on Two of the Famous Plays

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Trials and Tribulations of Young Love Explored; THE Voting for Shakespeare Campaign Launched by the Journal and the Theatre Royal Has Already Sparked Wide Interest. Here Is a Reminder of What Is at Stake and, below, Our First Essay by Shakespeare Expert CHRISTINE CHAPMAN Focusing on Two of the Famous Plays

Article excerpt

IN The Journal yesterday you will have read about the exciting new competition to find the North East's favourite Shakespeare character and play.

Devised by the Theatre Royal in association with The Journal, the competition will run over the coming months with the winner to be announced next year on April 23, Shakespeare's birthday.

The winning character will be the subject of a specially commissioned bronze sculpture which will be unveiled on the same date in 2012 and displayed in the foyer of the Theatre Royal.

There are said to be 1,221 characters in Shakespeare's plays but a (longish) shortlist has been drawn up by scholars at Newcastle and Durham universities and these are the ones you can vote for.

Each Wednesday in the coming weeks we will return to the Shakespearean theme.

Christine Chapman will write about the many issues thrown up in Shakespeare's plays to set you thinking about which character or play should earn your vote.

Voting opens tomorrow but, remember, you don't have to vote straight away.

You may wish to give the matter some thought because the winning character, cast in bronze, will be a fixture at the Theatre Royal for many years to come - and voting will be open for several months.

But you will be able to vote from tomorrow if you wish. Visit the website www.journallive.co.uk/culture and click on the Voting for Shakespeare link.

SHAKESPEARE TURNS HIS ATTENTION TO THE IDEALISM, THE IMPETUOSITY AND THE INEXPERIENCE OF YOUTH CHRISTINE CHAPMAN, who teaches English and has attended an RSC summer school in Stratford for 20 years, writes about the trials and tribulations of young love exemplified by Romeo and Juliet and Love's Labour's Lost.

ROMEO and Juliet (which the RSC are performing this week at the Theatre Royal) is one of Shakespeare's best-loved plays and there is a good reason why it is frequently taught in schools: it invites us to view a world concerned with wealth and status through the wide and hopeful eyes of youth.

From first encounter to last embrace, this powerful love story burns fast and bright, depicting how "violent delights have violent ends" for "young Romeo" and his "faithful Juliet".

Through them, we experience the intensity with which human hearts feel and the bitter-sweet consequences of what human hands can do.

In extremity, each recognises they possess the "power to die" but the enduring image of Romeo and Juliet is surely their discovery of how the world can be transformed when heart speaks unto heart.

Shakespeare's tragedies typically chart the life of a noble soul whose end is brought about by a tragic character flaw. However, in Romeo and Juliet it is fate that orchestrates their "untimely" end.

If these two adolescents have any flaws at all, they are only the idealism, the impetuosity and the inexperience of youth. …

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