Romeo and Juliet – Collaboration of Merced Shakes, Playhouse Merced and Perennial Players
“Romeo and Juliet” is one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays. The names of the two protagonists are iconic for young, passionate lovers with a tragic ending. Most are familiar with the story of the long feud between the Capulet and Montague families that causes the desperate result for the two star-crossed lovers. The collaborative production between Merced Shakespearefest, Playhouse and Perennial Players puts a unique twist on the classic tale.
What if this story would be told from a mature perspective? What if the younger generation wants to control the older generation? In our society seniors often lose their independence; adult children might think they know what is best for their parents. Could older people fall passionately in love, and how does this feel? Could it be a human right to follow your love?
This is the concept the director Heike Hambley, Artistic Director of Merced Shakes, follows in the text’s adaptation. She has already directed two productions of the play, 2003 and 2013. This time, just like before, the adaptation will be as close to Shakespeare’s words as possible.
There will be changes in the age of the performers as the play has an age-reversed concept. The story is set in modern times.
Actors 50 and over:
Juliet; Romeo; Mercutio; Friar; Paris; Benvolio; Balthasar; Prince; Apothecary
Actors 40ish or younger:
Tybalt; Nurse; Capulet; Lady Capulet; Montague; Lady Montague; servants
All are welcome to audition, all genders, races and ethnicities.
Rehearsals are Nov 28 to Dec 17 and January 8 to 52, usually Mon - Thursday evenings and Sun evenings
Romeo – widower, retired military, mourns after a long lost love, reserved, but opens up to be impulsive and passionate
Montague and Lady Montague – Romeo’s son and daughter-in-law, took over the family business, always competing with the Capulets, attempting to control Romeo
Benvolio – one of Romeo’s friends, serious and loyal
Mercutio – Romeo’s other friend, also served in the military with him, some PTSD+other mental health issues, over the top vivacious and imaginative, killed in a duel by Tybalt
Balthasar – employee in Montague household, supposed to supervise Romeo
Juliet – widow, health and possibly memory issues, trying to make everybody happy, afraid to be put in a home and lose her independence, blooms when she meets Romeo
Capulet and Lady Capulet – Juliet’s son and daughter-in-law, competing with the Montagues, he is forceful and determined to get his way, can also be sweet, she is stressed out, possibly addicted to prescription drugs
Tybalt – Juliet’s great-nephew, has hair-trigger temper, hates the Montagues, violent
Nurse – young and inexperienced nurse assistant to Juliet, paid by the son, anxious to do everything correctly, has affection for Juliet
Friar Laurence – old Franciscan friar with good intentions
Prince Escalus – ruler and supervisor of the county, has relatives on both sides, tries hard to establish peace, might function as Chorus
Paris – made his career in the Verona County Administration, wants to marry Juliet to be part of a powerful family
Servants – some are just working, some are fun-loving and wisecracking, some banter, tease and fight
Apothecary – faceless drug dealer