kaiserincapulet: (costanza garrone)
kaiserincapulet ([personal profile] kaiserincapulet) wrote2017-01-22 07:13 pm
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Romeo et Juliette Ensemble

I recently learned that there are apparently very few fics that use OCs based on ensemble members, which is odd to me because some of them have potential to be interesting if one stretches enough. (Originally posted on Tumblr on December 22, 2015.)

This is mostly just gonna be me putting to good use all the time I’ve spent cyber-stalking the French and Hungarian ensembles. Also, I feel like I’m alone in this, but when I say “ensemble,” I don’t count Rosa (Molnár Andrea) and Peter (Sárkány Zsolt) among them. The problem with this approach is that even the Operettszínház counts them as “ensemble” rather than as real characters, which makes finding out who they are nigh-impossible unless you have the time/attention span for stalking all the dancers until you find the one you were looking for (which is how I learned all these people’s names).

(Warning: this post is full of my poorly-done screenshots. Also, I ramble a lot.)

One of the most obvious examples of “potentially interesting characters” would be the groupies girls who surround Tybalt

Costanza Garrone, Sabrina Haroun, Natalia Terekhova, Natasha Henry

She’s played in French by Costanza Garrone (2001) and Sabrina Haroun (2010), in Russian by Natalia Terekhova, and in German (Austrian) by Natasha Henry. Most people probably wouldn’t think of them as the same character, and really they’re not, but one common thread is that Tybalt sometimes appears to have (or lets them believe he has) some kind of romantic tie to them, but later on they try to reach out to him while he’s obviously in a bad emotional/psychological place only to get pushed away (as in, literally physically pushed away). This may show that none of the relationships are healthy ones, but it also makes sense for Tybalt’s character (as I understand it). Capulets always want to prove themselves better than the Montagues, and one of the most obvious now that I think about it would be going “our women are so much better than yours.” At the same time, I also like the idea of including these girls because there are two potential routes that are usually taken with similar characters, they can either be his partners-in-crime or pining after someone who would never actually work out (though in Tybalt’s case it’s less being oblivious and more being too emotionally/mentally unstable for a healthy relationship). On the one hand, more sympathetic Capulets is always a good thing, but on the other hand, I must admit that these girls are also the type I’m the least inclined to write because of how easily everyone dismisses female OCs as Mary Sues. I know, it’s cowardly of me, but it’s still how I feel.

The next girl who makes an obvious choice to me is the one played by Radics Bernadett in the Hungarian version (spoiler: a lot of these will come back around to the Hungarian version)

Radics Bernadett

(I included both her face and her more recognizable “night” costume)

I feel like she is, again, here because of what she represents for the Capulets as a whole. One place that all the adaptations with evil Capulets may have stemmed from is that there is usually a certain ruthlessness to the ones who aren’t Juliet and the Nurse, which most obviously shown in how Tybalt turned out and the explanation of how he ended up where he is, but in my opinion really shows up after he dies. For me, Lady Capulet’s establishing character moment from the original play is when she plans to poison Romeo because all the men are just sitting around not doing anything productive (please note that in this case, “not doing anything productive” means “not getting revenge on the Montagues”). Bernadett was the most prominent of the Hungarian Capulet girls to me (mostly because she’s the only one who doesn’t spend a majority of the show with the Montagues) so she’s the one I chose to represent their approach (also she’s beautiful and I’m a shallow fangirl). Every time one of the named Capulets gets into a fight with the Montagues, she’s there to back them up, which is a nice contrast to the French/Russian/etc. approach of sending all the women off to the sidelines while the men fight and remove their shirts for no reason. She also exists outside the category of “giggly, flirty friends of Juliet,” which is not necessarily a bad thing to be, but I prefer works that explore how messed up the Capulets’ family dynamic usually is (for example, one of my favorite descriptions of the way Capulet children are “raised” comes from one of drcalvin’s fics: “There is nobody there for them. There never is. Not for the Capulet children, who grow angry before they grow old, and who learn to fuck away their loneliness until only the anger remains.”) For me, the whole Big Screwed Up Family thing is part of why I’m so drawn to them even though the Montagues usually get more screen time, so I like characters who may provide a chance to explore it.

Guitar Gabriella

Godó Gabriella

My favorite ensemble girl in any version of the musical, Godó Gabriella, though I may be biased because of her husband who I’m sure we all recognize.

Godó Gabriella and SzPSz

She has a habit of disappearing (ex. “Jogod Nem Volt”), but when she is in the frame, my eyes are always on her even if she’s not really doing anything of interest. I included her because I feel like she demonstrates the “carefree but also always down to fight” attitude I associate with Montagues (though in more recent shows she seems to become a Capulet during “Gyűlölet”). Aside from her most famous moment, immortalized in gif form above, she’s also one of the most prominent of the “kids” mocking the Nurse in “Hahaha” is quick to join the action in “Párbaj,” and is one of the foremost dancers in “Gyűlölet.” These are basically the same arguments I could make for all of the Hungarian Montagues, and I do also have OCs waiting in the wings for many of them, but I chose her because

1. my favorite
2. easiest to identify/explain
3. Szilveszter, and
4. she’s a Hungarian Montague who never becomes a Capulet during the proshot (also, she has blue on her dress, which was likely unintentional but is a detail I like nonetheless because CONTINUITY or something like that).

Szűts Rita

That, for the record, is not my screenshot, but anyway, this girl’s name is Szűts Rita. I singled her out because she’s one of the few ensemble members who has spoken lines, which automatically means I put more thought into her than is probably warranted. She’s introduced as Lady Montague’s servant, or at least that’s what I got from the limited context, but she’s treated no differently from any other Montague or Montague ally. Even if I’m wrong, this does open up some possibilities. For one thing, there’s the idea that the Montague kids have befriended one of their servants (or possibly more than just her, since the guys in “Lehetsz Király” are introduced carrying things, which in visual shorthand might indicate that they have a job they should be doing) and integrated her into their social circle enough for her to be romantically/sexually involved with one of the nameless Montague guys, while the Capulets are friendly enough with their servants but still feel the need to remind them of their place every once in awhile (though, again, all this is just me making inferences, which goes not only for Rita but also for Capulet/servant relations). The other point of interest for her is that, if she’s a servant, no one reprimands her for her behavior toward Romeo in “Jogod Nem Volt” or for generally sticking her nose where it probably doesn’t belong in “Párbaj” and “A bosszú,” which further paints the Montagues as more lax about rules than the Capulets. Szűts Rita is also a person of interest to me because, while I’m not certain, I think she may be the one who played Rosa in the more recent stagings.

Svetlana Isaeva
Why, yes, I did feel the need to make a new screenshot when I already had a better picture that actually shows her face. This is Svetlana Isaeva, and she’s in the same boat as Rita because I’m singling her out for something very inconsequential. Her most prominent appearance in the 2010 French proshot is in “Les Beaux, Les Laids” as a fortune teller who reads the Nurse’s palm and tarot cards for her and Benvolio before a couple of Capulet guys show up and ruin her cards.

Sveta Isaeva

I feel like the concept of her as a fortune teller could open up some interesting possibilities, especially since this production contains hints that Mercutio may also have some kind of psychic/supernatural something going on. There are many moments I could cite to prove it, but the most telling for me is right before “C’est Pas Ma Faute” when everyone around Tybalt freezes…and then it cuts to a shot of Mercutio blinking and looking in his direction. This is even more interesting when one considers the theory I’ve heard proposed that she is an actual psychic and that the reason she and Benvolio look so worried in the sloppily-cropped second picture up there is that her cards are showing them how the story ends. I know that it’s very likely that once I start writing I’ll realize that there’s less to her than I thought (because I have already decided to include her in the fic I’m currently trying to motivate myself to write), but she still feels like someone who’s worth at least one try.

Christine Hassid, Svetlana Isaeva, Kenia Bernal Gonzales

So it turns out that there may be a reason Svetlana knows what will happen even if she isn’t really psychic: she lived through it already. Specifically, in the 2004 Moscow production. I’m grouping her with Christine Hassid and Kenia Bernal Gonzales because they all basically play the same character, though Christine is a lot more aggressive toward the Capulets (which may just be a side effect of La Muette not existing in the other versions…yet they still keep the sign language in the Russian “Les Beaux, Les Laids” for some reason). Their characters provide an interesting counterpoint to Rosa from the Hungarian version, as while she is introduced after Romeo breaks up with her, he still seems to have something going on with these girls before he meets Juliet, and it appears to be serious enough that they still keep up hope that he’ll come back to them all the way up until “On Dit Dans La Rue.” Also, Christine is interesting to ponder because she also understudied for La Mort in the Asia Tour, which makes my mind wander with things I’ll never actually write. And, of course, Svetlana and Kenia having spoken lines in this version means my brain has labeled them as Important. Honestly, she's not even technically an OC since the Russian and Austrian versions give her a name ("Rosalina") but no one in the fandom seems to know about her so it still counts in my book (unlike Rosa/Peter/La Muette).

Antonietta Campolo, Zalina Dzutseva, Daniela Harbauer

In similar vein, we have a character who may or may not have a name depending on how you interpret the dialogue before "Les Rois du Monde" in the original (which references someone named Antonietta). Anyway, this character is played by Antonietta Campolo in French, Zalina Dzutseva (another 2010 French dancer) in Russian, and Daniela Harbauer in German (Austrian). The Russian version has another girl who actually wears Antonietta’s costume (Nadezhda Zakharova), but Zalina feels more like her counterpart (also I’m trying not to make this an eternity long). All of them are to Mercutio what the first girls I mentioned (who you’ve probably already forgotten about) are to Tybalt, though Mercutio seems to care more about them than Tybalt does for his girls. Of course, they make good cases for why they should be paired with Mercutio, since all of them have their most memorable (to me) moments during “Les Beaux, Les Laids” where they’re harassing the Nurse. In both productions, Zalina seems to have an odd preoccupation with lifting the Nurse’s skirt, Antonietta looks for a moment like the song will end with her being the one to forcibly kiss the Nurse rather than one of the boys, and Daniela gets in a lot of Capulet mocking anytime the two families share the stage. They all seem like they can evenly match the Montacrew in terms of humor, which makes it all the worse to see the inevitable visual of the girls over Mercutio's dead body.

Speaking of which, the Montagues’ reactions to Mercutio’s death here also stands as a nice counterpoint to the Hungarian version, where the Capulets mourn Tybalt more deeply than the Montagues mourn Mercutio (or at least that’s how it comes across). Yes, the day has finally come where I admit that the French version did something better than the Hungarian version. I’m as shocked as you are, trust me.

Anyway, I think I may have finally run out of steam (for which we're all thankful), so I think the time has come to end this little jaunt through my own madness.