Star crossed lovers unite through movement and music in Ellen Stewart's new adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, featuring a cast of 26 from The Great Jones Repertory Company.
Adapted and directed by Ellen Stewart, who describes this new twist on Shakespeare's beloved story as a "dance opera" Romeo and Juliet tells the classic tale of an ill-fated love between two teenagers who pursue their desires despite a long-standing hatred between their feuding families, the noble Montagues and Capulets of Verona, Italy.
Ms. Stewart's adaptation brings an unusual element to the story, setting it as traveling road show attended by the Montagues and Capulets in Verona. One of the novelty acts in the road show is a dancer named Petrushka, who performs a selection from Igor Stravinsky's famed ballet score, "Petrushka." Ms. Stewart complements William Shakespeare's verse with her own, setting the language to music she has composed with Genji Ito and Michael Sirotta.
Set in the 1800s in Verona, the first section of the production takes place outside La MaMa Annex. The audience then proceeds upstairs to the theatre for the story's famed "masked ball" scene and tragic conclusion.
For her adaptation, Ms. Stewart has expanded the characters of Nurse, Juliet's personal attendant and confidante, and Peter, one of Juliet's servants. Additionally, she has created three new characters called "The Particulars" -- a trio of women who are part of the Capulet household and also function as a Greek Chorus, commenting on the action.
This adaptation will retain the inimitable international flavor that is a trademark of Ms. Stewart's body of work at La MaMa, with a 26-member cast consisting of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, African-American and Caucasian-American actors. Leading the cast as the star crossed lovers are newcomers Noshir Dalal as Romeo and Malaika Queano as Juliet.