Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-01-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Romeo and Juliet
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2019-11-13

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: William Shakespeare

At: Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave. Tickets: ChicagoShakes.com 312-595-5600; $35-$90. Runs through: Dec. 22

Although tribal enmity dating from 1957 could, in 2019, plausibly be labeled an "ancient grudge" let's make it clear from the start: The warring Veronese neighbors we meet in this production are not the descendants of the Jets and Sharks, bent on reviving old quarrels rooted in long-forgotten slights.

Neither are we to assume from the architecture of the Capulet's vacation house, with its spacious back-yard patio and proximity to boulder-strewn northern beaches, or from the unaccented locution of its residents ( vocalized in short bursts replete with flattened "a"s, nasalized "e"s and hard "r"s, rather than the spoken-word arias we associate with Elizabethan drama ) that the locale of our story is within the environs of Cape Cod, or the Indiana Dunes, for that matter.

Director Barbara Gaines clearly states in her playbill notes, after all, that Shakespeare's tragic tale of communal disintegration arising from the legacy of violence imposed upon credulous children by parents unwilling to break with ancestral ties, can occur in "any town torn apart … by all that divides us."

To emphasize the global relevance of her parable, Gaines has cast across ethnic and gender lines—e.g. Friar Lawrence ( whose church now displays a Protestant altar ) is now played by African-American female actor Darlene Hope—and instructed her designers to adopt a visual palette blending vivid tropical hues and subdued preppy tints, and to swaddle the lovers in soft disco-era dance music, while searing the adolescent bro's in harsh LED chiaroscuro. This conceptual immediacy is further underlined by a text not re-edited, so much as rescored, in order to highlight phrases often muted, if not excised completely.

The initiators of the brawl that begins the play, for example, are now the elderly Capulet and Montague patriarchs, whose kin are forced to join in the melee, despite the protests of their wives at these juvenile antics. ( Those spouses, by the way, have more to say in this contemporary setting, commandeering speeches originally consigned by the author to their male counterparts ). Romeo's crew—volatile Mercutio ( portrayed as a military veteran prone to bouts of PTSD ), badass Tybalt and effete Paris are likewise granted hints of backstory.

Such analogies can only be extended so far toward spanning four centuries, of course, and while the familiarity of Gaines' characterizations endows the filial bickering with the congenial tone of a television comedy during the first act, this levity cannot be sustained over the second, making for an increasing reliance on straightforward classical declamation. The final word—delivered this time by the ever-mediatory Benvolio—is an exhortation to peaceful reconciliation sealed, not only in verbal acquiescence, but in action.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'Goshen' at Water Tower Place on May 22-31 2020-01-25 - Broadway In Chicago, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Quiet Water Entertainment announced that Goshen—featuring dancers and singers performing to music by Grammy winner ...


Gay News

All-woman cast plays the men in City Lit's 'Thirteen Days' 2020-01-24 - The October 1962 days in which the world appeared to be on the brink of nuclear war will be revisited in a world ...


Gay News

Chicago Musical Theatre Festival Feb. 3-20 2020-01-23 - Underscore Theatre Company is presenting its sixth annual Chicago Musical Theatre Festival—created to showcase and support the growing field of musical theatre creators ...


Gay News

Theater Spotlight on The Merry Widow 2020-01-22 - Glamorous young widow Hannah Glawari has all the money to save the bankrupt country of Pontevedro, but all she wants is a reunion ...


Gay News

Show examines life of Barbara Jordan 2020-01-22 - The life of the late lawyer, educator and politician Barbara Jordan will be examined in City Lit Theatre's Voice of Good Hope. Voice ...


Gay News

Nancy Pelosi play debuting Jan. 26 2020-01-22 - The Adult in the Room, a new play by Bill McMahon about the life of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will ...


Gay News

'Freedom Ride' talk, performance Jan. 29 2020-01-21 - Newberry Library is hosting a discussion and performance with Chicago Opera Theater ( COT ) involving the production Freedom Ride on Wed., Jan. ...


Gay News

Patin at Hyde Park through Feb. 28 2020-01-21 - Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave., is welcoming Nikki Patin as its new flex space resident through Feb. 28, 2020; she ...


Gay News

Young Playwrights Festival running through Jan. 25 2020-01-21 - Pegasus Theatre Chicago is presenting the 33rd Young Playwrights Festival through Saturday, Jan. 25, at The Courtyard Theatre in The Getz Theater Center ...


Gay News

Sean Hayes at Feb. 5 Goodman event 2020-01-21 - Goodman Theatre, now in its 95th season, will host the "Legacy & Promise" Education and Engagement Luncheon Wed., Feb. 5, featuring Emmy-winning and ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.