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Romeo and Juliet

a Drama
CATEGORY :
by Shakespeare

COMPANY : Georgia Shakespeare [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 3928

SHOWING : January 13, 2011 - January 15, 2011

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Romeo and Juliet (review)
By Don Cleary*

If you think school bells, lacrosse racquets, catholic school girl uniforms, stone washed jeans, tee-shirts and contemporary music the likes of Coldplay don’t sound very Shakespearean, then you might want to rethink Shakespeare. Under the direction of Georgia Shakespeare’s Allen O’Reilly tonight’s performance at Augusta State University of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, co-produced by ASU English and Drama Departments, held the attention of a largely teen and 20- something crowd of 450 strong. The project was the brainchild of local producer Walter Evans. Accompanied by contemporary dress and soundscape, lines were appropriately and frequently delivered like flippant and sometimes pithy characters from a Friends or Seinfeld episode. My 90 year old mother-in-law understandably wasn’t too fond of it, but this younger audience seemed to get it and didn’t hesitate to enthusiastically offer a standing ovation at the end of the streamlined one hour plus performance. It probably didn’t hurt that many of the audience had friends in the cast from various area high schools (Evans, Greenbrier, Westside, and Davidson), as well as students from Augusta State and community theatre players at large. The minimal set of canvas, faux painted walls with the occasional 2x2 platform in no way took away from the performance. Whatever the set might have lacked in detail or design was more than compensated for by the strong acting talent by the four leads played by Georgia Shakespeare actors (Anne Marie Gideon, Brian Harrison, Casey Hoekstra, and Caitlyn McWethy) and the lively supporting cast of area student actors. Some older folks might prefer Shakespeare the old fashioned way. I’m not sure if it is the inherent genius of Shakespeare and his brilliantly written, timeless love story, or O’Reilly’s keen ability to transform and adapt it to a contemporary audience (arguably it’s both), but I left felling younger, even if my 90 year old mother-in-law did not.

* Don Cleary is the Assistant Professor of Drama at Paine College


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