Verona, Italy struggled with vicious sword fights and certain death for over 100 years due to the Montagues and Capulets’ hatred toward one another. Although the source of this hatred has never been known, the children of these two enemies are resolved to end it. Hidden deep in the sycamore grove on the outskirts of Verona, Benvolio Montague and Rosaline Capulet fall in love and quickly realize the urgent need to end the hatred between their families.
The necessity of ending the hate calls for late night trespassing into the Capulet gardens; begging secrecy from a helpful Friar; and recruiting Juliet’s nurse to assist in planning Romeo and Juliet’s concealed meetings, secret marriage, and wedding night rendezvous. With his stealthy skills Benvolio never tells Romeo about his plan.
However, there is an obstacle in Juliet’s angry cousin, Tybalt. He is out for Romeo’s blood. To stop this madness Benvolio encourages Romeo to answer his threats with peace. Mercutio, a friend of the Montagues, is all too happy to fight Tybalt. Trying to stop this sword fight Romeo steps in between them. The tragedy that ensues is enough to convince Mercutio that this family war will only end with love.
The fight continues and the death count climbs. With Romeo’s exile from Verona, Benvolio’s determination to end the hate with love escalates. But he quickly realizes that all his actions to support his cousin’s love and guarantee his own happiness have set in motion the Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
Emily Whitaker studied Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and at Circle in the Square Theatre School under Edward Berkeley. She wrote Benvolio to introduce Shakespeare to young adult readers. Playing Benvolio, gave her pause to wonder what part Benvolio truly played in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. It was then that her mind began to plot this extraordinary backstory. Emily Whitaker sticks to the original plot as seen through Benvolio’s eyes while showing the horrors of their parents’ sins and the unfounded belief that love will conquer all.
When imagining Benvolio and Romeo's relationship I felt their bond was as deep as brothers. That is why I chose to have them raised as such. Romeo's parents took Benvolio in after he was orphaned by the plague.
Romeo mirrored Benvolio. Both were still somewhat asleep, their bare feet cringing against the cold floor, and wooden swords in hand. Their nightclothes hung off them; making them look smaller than they truly were.