I am a lover of Shakespeare. My English Lit students get more than their fair share of my love for Shakespearean sonnets and plays. I'm always interested when I discover a new adaptation of one of his plays such as Scotland, PA based on Macbeth or Were the World Mine based on A Midsummer Night's Dream. I recently came across another adaptation, Shakespeare's R & J, based on Romeo and Juliet. As with each of these there is a unique twist. Scotland, PA takes place in a fast food restaurant, whereas Were the World Mine is a retelling using a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Shakespeare's R & J is a refreshing contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy by Joe Calarco. We all know the story--it's everyone's story. Romeo and Juliet has endured 400 and more years because it's a story about love; in fact, it's about that rarest of all things: first love. Shakespeare's R & J is said to be an arresting, vibrant and hot-blooded adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that pulsates with an adolescent abandon and electricity of which Romeo himself might approve.
Taking place after curfew in the world of a parochial boarding school for boys, four repressed students discover Shakespeare's incredible love story. What starts off as a lighthearted reading of the forbidden text gradually becomes more dangerous as these young men are allowed to explore their pent up energy and adolescent passion which has been boiling under the surface all along.
Their experiment ends in an impassioned and honest performance of the play without the restrictions of gender, race or sexuality. With no set, no costume changes or props (except a piece of red fabric), this retelling of Romeo and Julie sounds like it would be a wonderful play to watch. I hope one day, I will get to see it.
Mauckingbird Theatre Company remounts its critically acclaimed production of "Shakespeare's R & J" at the Caplan Theater, The University of the Arts, 211 South Broad Street, Philadelphia on Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 4 at 5 and 8 p.m. The play is being produced for Equality Forum 2013. Directed by Artistic Director Peter Reynolds, the play features four exciting young actors in this hot-blooded reimagining of Shakespeare's masterpiece. If I were in the Philadelphia area, I would love to see it. If anyone who is in the Philadelphia area goes to see it, please let me know how it was, or if anyone has seen it before, I'd love to know what you thought.
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