Jola Fallach
It is the beginning of Act 1 Scene 5, with the famous ‘kissing scene’, where Romeo and Juliet meet for the first time. The servants banter while preparing the house for the party; the pleasant, Renaissance music plays, the actors start dancing, the atmosphere is light-hearted and I am waiting for Romeo to take his mask off and to show how deeply he falls in love with Juliet.

At the very moment he does - I am shocked. This Romeo is black! It strikes me heavily, even though I am not sure why. This is not that I am a racist; after all, Otello is black too. I love the theatre, understand its conventions and I am open for experiments on the stage, but yet there is something not right with a black Romeo here. There are some implications concerning that fact: at least some of the other members of his family should be black, and the casting director should take note of this. If this were the case, the feud probably has its roots in racism and then we have another story to tell.

I think that the theatre has some conventions to follow, otherwise the story is improbable or maybe just different. And what if a Romeo is an old ugly man or an old ugly lady or an alien? I am sure that after the first negative impression I would watch the whole tragedy with great pleasure; furthermore, even a black Hamlet would not surprise me in the future. The theatrical conventions have changed, and I have learnt something new, maybe about myself, too.

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