The Capulet’s and the Montague’s might be both powerful and wealthy who answer to no one but the Prince, but sadly, even with all the power and prestige; even they can’t control headstrong teenagers. Alas, ROMEO AND JULIET, is still relevant as ever in that regard, modern life has not found a cure for impetuous youth.
In this USD/Old Globe Shiley Graduate Theatre Program production, these grad students bring the streets, and feuds of Verona to life in funny, action packed, and dare I say it sexy production.
Romeo, played by Jose Martinez, and Juliet played by Larica Schnell both excel at capturing the overdramatic, impatient, and overzealous nature of hormonally driven teens giving into their impulses. Larica maintains a sweetness of Juliet in her steadfastness. Martinez makes this emotional Romeo a boyfriend (or husband in this case), worthy of her devotion. From the moment they meet they can barely keep their hands off of one another, so it seems only right that the next step is to run away and get married in secret.
Mercutio, played by Eric Weiman is funny as the eloquent but rash Mercutio, and Morgan Taylor as Tybalt is a fierce fighter in her words and her actions with her two weapons. Their fight choreography by Brian Byrnes by is also impressive.
Other standouts are Daniel Ian Joeck and Yadira Correa as the Capulet parents, and Samantha Sutliff as Juliet’s loyal Nurse.
Directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, keeps the feeling of the play and the movement modern, but with an undercurrent of impetuousness. From the Capulet and Montague fathers, to the Tybalt and Mercutio, to Romeo and Juliet, everything is very reactionary and rash. This plays drive home the modern aesthetic with both the use of music (Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” plays as they dance) and the costuming. This play has all the bones of a comedy and they are well used here in the first act, but that only serves to highlight the tragedy of the pile of bodies left by the end of the play.
All of this drama takes place on a lovely set by Brian Redfern, anchored by a beautiful floor making one think of Verona’s other famous export of marble.. Set in the Globe’s Sheryl & Harvey White Theatre in the round, I overheard one audience member remark that he was really enjoying feeling like he was ‘in” the play.
While this play may show teenagers making some reckless decisions; it also shows that while prejudice can be taught, it can be overcome through love, and proves that sometimes the actions of a few individuals that can impact change for many. So its message seems to still be timely enough to warrant another visit to Verona.
ROMEO AND JULIET is playing through November 19th at The Old Globe. For tickets and show times go to www.theoldglobe.org