‘Bare’ characters vs ‘Romeo and Juliet’ characters
Okay, so I was talking to my friend about all the Romeo and Juliet parallels in Bare, and then I realised that each character in Bare matches up with a character in Romeo and Juliet, so here’s what I came up with. (This is using the pop/rock opera version of Bare).
ALSO DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED/PLAN TO WATCH BARE AS IT CONTAINS HUGE SPOILERS AND LITERALLY REVEALS THE ENDING AND BASICALLY ALL THE MAJOR PLOT POINTS!
Jason = Romeo
At the start of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo is a pretty passive character, letting things happen around him, but as the play progresses he becomes more dedicated - this is paralleled with Jason, when at the start he doesn’t seem to play a particularly active role in the story, or in his relationship with Peter, wanting to keep it secret, however he becomes more certain in his feelings over the course of the show, telling Peter he loves him for the first time at the end. Romeo is the ultimate symbol of romance, and that is what Jason’s classmates perceive him to be at the start of the show, upon assuming his heterosexuality. Also, when he believes Juliet is dead, Romeo kills himself. Upon being told that his relationship and love for peter are wrong (thus rendering his relationship and love metaphorically dead- the song ‘Once upon a time’ is basically him mourning his lost relationship with Peter), Jason kills himself. ouch.
Peter = Juliet
Juliet is presented as a shy and obedient character, but once she meets Romeo she is prepared to defy her parents and secretly marry him. Peter is similair to this - he seems to go pretty unnoticed by his classmates (especially when compared to Jason, who is the centre of attention and affection) however he defies his homophobic mother and has a secret relationship with Jason. Also Juliet and Peter are essentially swept off their feet by their respective partners.
Ivy = Rosaline
At the start of Romeo and Juliet, Romeo pines for Rosaline, and says he is ‘in love’ with her but it’s pretty clear he’s not, considering how quickly he forgets her as soon as he meets Juliet. In Bare, Jason tries to pretend to himself that he’s in love with Ivy, which, granted is a little different to R&J , the links are pretty clear - Jason is not in love with Ivy, Romeo is not in love with Rosaline - he’s just convinced himself he is.
Nadia = Mercutio
Mercutio is the loud, quick witted, often dirty and innuendo-rife wordsmith. Nadia is very similair, boasting legendary one-liners such as “Bathroom stalls don’t lie, she’s good with her hands” when Jason remarks on how good Ivy’s drawing is, or when Ivy tells her ‘Don’t touch anything [in my room]’, Nadia quips “Says the whore, uncharacteristically”. Clearly, most of this wit is cruel, and directed at Ivy, but stems from Nadia’s jealousy of Ivy’s beauty , and her own pain at feeling emotionally isolated and lonely relationship-wise. Mercutio is considered to be the opposite to Romeo (who believes that true love can conquer all), and Nadia is also exactly the opposite of Romeo - cynical, no hope in love, no faith in the world. Both Nadia and Mercutio seem not to believe in the idea of true love. In the song ‘A quiet night at home’ , Nadia has lines which support all this, such as “Pain adores me, God ignores me” , “Play my siren song, attracting none my ship just won’t come in” , and “A tale of star-crossed lovers - life is lived on other stages”.
Sister Chantelle = Friar Lawrence
In Romeo and Juliet, Friar Lawrence is the one who helps Juliet make plans to escape her family and run away with Romeo. Friar Lawrence is also the one who marries Romeo and Juliet to each other in secret. Sister Chantelle gives Peter the support he needs to ‘escape’ his hopelessness, being pretty much the only non homophobic adult in the entire show (in the same way Friar Laurence is the only adult who supports Romeo and Juliet’s union) and in a dream sequence she officiates Peter and Jason’s wedding.
Father = Nurse
In Romeo and Juliet, Nurse is considered to be Juliet’s ‘confidante’, the same way father is who Peter (and eventually Jason) talks to about his feelings and confusion. Also in R&J, towards the end of the play, Nurse essentially ‘betrays’ Juliet by arguing that she should marry another man, Paris, despite the fact that Nurse is aware Juliet and Romeo are already married in secret. In Bare, there is pretty much an exact mirroring of this situation: Father tells Jason being gay isn’t okay while fully aware of the effect that could have, and also while knowing of Peter and Jason’s secret relationship.
Matt = Tybalt
In Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt is Romeo’s enemy and rival, and Romeo eventually kills him. In Bare, Matt and Romeo are clearly rivals - Matt spends the entire show always being second best to Jason (In the words of Nadia “Matt, always a bridesmaid, never a bride”). This rivalry is made very clear in the show, as in their school’s production of Romeo and Juliet, Jason is cast and Romeo, and Matt as Tybalt. During rehearsing the duel scene between these two characters, the two boys start actually fighting, and Matt uses a homophobic slur towards Jason.
Lucas = Benvolio
In Romeo and Juliet, Benvolio is the (failed) peacemaker. This seems to parallel Lucas, who, while being the school drug dealer, also has lines such as “I got your back”, and upon learning of Jason’s relationship with Peter, tells the former “You know we’re still cool, right?” in a (failed) attempt to give Jason some hope to hang on to that things will be okay. Also, during the scene where Jason and Matt fight, Lucas is the one who literally pulls one off the other and then stands between them to put a stop to the brawl.