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I have to admit something that I’ve been holding in for a while now. I haven’t ever really been crazy about Romeo and Juliet. Okay, so two innocent teenagers “fall in love,” secretly get married, and then kill themselves poetically because “no one understands.”

 

What’s the big honking deal!?

 

Let’s just be real for a second: Romeo and Juliet are crazy. They’re rash, they’re unrealistic, and they do dumb things in the name of love (and having experienced being a teenager in love and now being an adult in love, I know that there is a stark difference – thank God I didn’t marry anyone I was in love with as a teenager).  Oh – and c’mon, this romantic, secret wedding night they spend together? Can we all please stop pretending like they had this night of perfect sex? I don’t think I need to say any more on that. Seriously.

 

David Hartstone and Megan Ruble as Romeo and Juliet

David Hartstone and Megan Ruble as Romeo and Juliet

When City Shakes announced  Romeo and Juliet as the summer show,  I admit that I felt kind of “eh” about it. Every production I’ve ever seen turns a blind eye to all the issues I stated above and tells a story of two innocent lovers that died unnecessarily because of their “evil” parents.

 

Well. After working with this director (ahem I’m have to name drop ahem – Brooke Bishop) and this collaborative cast, I’ve seen the light when it comes to Romeo and Juliet.

 

Gone is the romanticized fluffy innocent lover theme. In it’s place, we’re telling the story of two teenagers who feel trapped and go to desperate measures to seek release. They’re not perfect. Juliet acts like a little bitch to her mom, who’s just trying to set her up for success. Romeo can’t control his temper and kills more than one person (yeah, you read that: *SPOILER ALERT* Paris is gonna die!). Peace-seeking Benvolio gets in a fight of her own (yep – Benny’s a girl this time around, and she happens to be played by me), and the Nurse is a hilarious babe.

 

What a relief to tell the story that’s actually in the text.

 

This production is action-oriented and fast-paced. I usually have to do laundry after rehearsal because I get so sweaty from practicing fight and dance choreography (tmi?), and yes, I’ve changed my mind about Romeo and Juliet. Looks like Shakespeare won me over all over again.

 

City Shakes is excited to open Romeo and Juliet on July 11th with a big par-tay. We run Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm through July 27th. That’s only 9 performances, and we’ve already sold out FOUR of them!

 

Hurry, get your tickets now at: http://cityshakesrj.brownpapertickets.com/

 

See you at the show!

Allison Signature

 

 

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