Matthew Scott Moore

Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio)

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is about love and hate, faith and fate, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal. It remains his most popular early play. Romeo’s best friends are Benvolio, his kinsman, and Mercutio, a relative of the Prince. Both friends have radically different temperaments. Both are linked by their loyalty to Romeo, but meet very different ends. Benvolio is a stolid, relatively unimaginative, but thoroughly decent young man who is contrasted with the impish, impulsive, brilliantly whimsical Mercutio and the passionate Romeo. Mercutio is killed midway through the play, and with his death, the lightness and joy and fun of the first half go out with him. The catastrophe that will also claim the lives of Tybalt, Paris, Romeo, and Juliet has been set in motion. Benvolio, the witness and ineffectual peacemaker, survives.


Fun fact: In ASL plays, each lead character is given a distinctive namesign. Mercutio’s namesign was an “M” struck twice against the upper chest. This became Matthew’s own namesign, and his friends still use it today.


Matthew’s Mercutio was a mischievous, ribald, flamboyant, hot-blooded foil to the quieter, steady-tempered, more sedate Benvolio played by Michael O'Connor. His “Queen Mab” speech, delivered in American Sign Language, was one of the highlights of the play; his rendition gave a fresh dimension to the magic and whimsy of that famous “flight of imagination” passage.


Michael O’Connor and Matthew appeared in two plays together–Romeo and Juliet and The Odd Couple–acting opposite each other. And both actors have been, so far, the only ones to win NTID’s prestigious Golden Hands Award for excellence in acting.

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