February 23 - March 17
William Shakespeare is considered by many the worlds pre-eminent dramatist. Most of what we know about modern storytelling can be traced back to Shakespeare.
Shakespeare - The nearest thing in incarnation to the eye of God.
Wonderful women! Have you ever thought how much we all, and women especially, owe to Shakespeare for his vindication of women in these fearless, high-spirited, resolute and intelligent heroines?
Dame Ellen Terry
The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good - in spite of
all the people who say he is very good.
Romeo and Juliet ranks with Hamlet as one of Shakespeare's most performed plays. Its many adaptations have made it one of his most enduring and famous stories. Perhaps the most filmed play of all time, Romeo & Juliet has been adapted into fine art, opera and ballet as well as inspiring countless books, plays and movies.
The earliest performance of Romeo and Juliet actually documented was in 1662.
Not long after many found it necessary to alter Shakespeare's original work. In some productions, (spoiler alert!) Romeo and Juliet survive their ordeal to live happy, fulfilled lives. In1679, Thomas Otway created a version of the play called The History and Fall of Caius Marius, set in Augustan Rome. Otway transformed the play to revolve around two opposing senators, Metellus and Marius Senior, who are fighting for political control.
For seventy years, Otway's version trounced all productions of Shakespeare's own Romeo and Juliet. By the 1740s Shakespeare's version was again experiencing some popularity.
In the nineteenth century, Romeo and Juliet was performed with relatively little dramatic alteration, and it became one of Shakespeare's most-produced plays and a mainstay of the English stage.
Our guest Director for this opening production of our 2018 season is Michael P. Martin, a favorite performer among Kalamazoo theatre-goers. New Vic Artistic Director, James Furney, will be taking on the role of Producer.
Michael has a strong vision for this production of Romeo & Juliet. While he certainly wishes to maintain the original themes of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Michael states “…(I plan) to set the play in a gritty, Victorian London. Full of violence and vitriol. From the old Whitechapel-esque atmosphere blooms love that is in stark contrast to the dark tones and dirt-stained streets.”
Michael, an avid fan of Shakespeare, has studied his work extensively and has performed in numerous Shakespeare plays. Agreeing with many scholars, Michael feels that light and dark are important, nay, defining symbols that speak to the theme and moral of this play and he will be utilizing these throughout the staging, lighting, and costumes. Also crucial to this play are the fight scenes. Michael has called upon the exceptional talents of Atis Kleinbergs to be the Fight Director. Martin is very enthusiastic about the work being done on these scenes.
Michael also believes that this is an important story not just as a theatrical piece, but as a moral lesson, “On a microcosmic scale, this story belongs to Romeo and Juliet. On a slightly larger scale, this tory tells the story of Verona and its key citizens. On a much larger scale, the story is a lesson for all of mankind asking us to love instead of hate.”
Romeo & Juliet features New Vic newcomers Jacob Zech & Haley Archambault in the title roles. In supporting roles are New Vic stage favorites, Anna Mundo, Sarah Roddis, Stefani Lynn Wallace, & Michael P. Martin, and newcomers - Cully Cooper, Shelby Alexander, Neil Bryer, Benjamin Hooper, Nicholas Mumma, Michael Andres, Jeffrey Wyckoff, Craig Sloan & Allison Ackerman.
Advance ticket sales have been quite good, get your seats now before they are all gone!