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SU Drama puts new twist on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ beginning Feb. 17
SU Drama puts new twist on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ beginning Feb. 17February 07, 2006Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
The Syracuse University Drama Department will present Joe Calarco’s all-male adaptation of Shakespeare’s most famous love story, “Romeo and Juliet,” beginning Feb. 17. The fourth production in the 2005-06 season, the show runs through March 5. Drama professor Rodney Hudson directs the production, with adjunct professor Leslie Noble as assistant director. Performances will be held in the Black Box Theatre at the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama complex, 820 East Genesee St.
Unlike the traditional Renaissance setting of Shakespeare’s tale, this adaptation is set in the present day. Four students at an all-boys parochial school discover a forbidden copy of “Romeo and Juliet,” and, eager for distraction from reciting Latin verb conjugations, begin performing the play. At first, the boys are timid when exploring the passionate tale among their teenaged peers. They eventually lose their inhibitions and embody the story’s characters with a palpable understanding of adolescent love and lust. Seniors Parker Drown, Devin Horne, Daniel Newmark and Rafi Silver portray the boys, known solely throughout the play as “Student 1,” “Student 2,” “Student 3” and “Student 4.”
“The Elizabethan idea of men playing all the roles, coupled with the prep school setting, was very compelling and set forth a series of ‘meaty questions,'” says Noble. “How would the circumstances of their youth and upbringing–military strictness, rigid gender roles, sexual repression, adolescent innocence–affect the performance of ‘Romeo and Juliet?’ How would the act of performing this classic love story affect the boys? What a compelling staging challenge, to tell both stories at once!”
In the SU Drama production, the four boys are serving detention in a cluttered basement when they find the off-limits copy of “Romeo and Juliet.” Noble characterizes the basement setting as “a forgotten world, filled with old junk, where bad boys go to be forgotten.” The room fires their imagination and creates a setting of improvisation as they discover sets, props, costumes and lights in the heap of cast-offs.
“The ‘real’ world of the detention room and the imagined world of Shakespeare’s Verona contrast and illuminate one another,” says Noble. “As the boys journey between the two, their ideas of love, honor and manhood are challenged and changed forever.”
Tickets for the SU Drama Department/Black Box production of “Romeo and Juliet” are free but must be reserved. To reserve tickets, call (315) 443-2102. The Black Box Theatre has a policy of open seating on a first come, first served basis.