(Left to right): Michelle Rambharose (Juliet) and Shauna Thompson (Romeo). ©Studio Baron Photo.

Shakespeare-in-the-Park comes to Hawkesbury July 15 with an apropos twist

For its 30th anniversary season, Repercussion Theatre presents Romeo & Juliet: Love is Love. The tour comes to Hawkesbury on July 15 at 7pm at Place Des Pionniers (157-163 Richer St., K6A 1X7). This is the largest Shakespeare-in-the-Park (SITP) tour that Repercussion Theatre has had in a decade, with 30 shows to mark the anniversary.

JULIET: What’s in a name, that which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet

Repercussion’s customary method of “holding a mirror up to nature” creates a unique, current context through which the well-known love tragedy unfolds. A band of thespians is tasked to perform Romeo and Juliet repeatedly until society finally learns that hate not only destroys the subjects of its loathing but also the cherished. The troupe draws lots to decide who plays which roles and as luck would have it this time, Romeo and Juliet will both be portrayed by women, among other chance gender-bent character assignations. Timeless themes of rebellion, power, pride, fate, and the passionate and unpredictable nature of love and hate, resonate anew in this 400-year old tale. Juliet’s arranged marriage, built on the business of making powerful alliances through wedlock, and the Friar’s ill-fated letter that could have saved the doomed lovers, ultimately force them to take the most drastic of measures in the name of love.

ROMEO: For stony limits cannot hold love out

“I don’t think we’re doing anything particularly new”, explains Ms. Kellock, Repercussion’s Artistic Director. “While Shakespeare has come to be regarded as an untouchable monolith, he himself was not rigid. He was like a Renaissance sci-fi playwright, taking old stories, setting them in far-off, half-imagined places, and applying his contemporary lens to connect with the audiences of his time. This play in particular has often had a ‘queer’ element to it, whether it was the Elizabethan custom of men portraying all of the female roles or the Cushman sisters in the 1800s, who took the world by storm with their interpretation of the play. It’s been such a joy to explore the various ways that identity and desire are experienced and expressed in our production.” Ultimately, it is not sexual identity that forces the star-crossed lovers to hide their passion but the endless rivalry between the families that inhibits them from proclaiming their love publicly. Kellock asks, “Wouldn’t it be great if the play finally taught us to let people love who they want to love”?

ROMEO: O sweet Juliet, thy beauty hath made me effeminate

Pocket Shakespeare: Everyone will be able to enjoy every nuance of the Bard’s English thanks to Plank Design, who have designed a unique application that enables Francophone audiences to follow the text by reading French sub-titles on their smart phones.

ABOUT REPERCUSSION THEATRE

The mission of Repercussion Theatre is to deliver professional, classically based, visually dynamic theatre that is accessible to all, regardless of income, culture, language, age or education. Repercussion brings the performing arts to people in their communities, reaching new audiences and instilling in them, a lifelong love of theatre. For more information, visit www.repercussiontheatre.com


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