But before we get to the play, there was a strange but fascinating pre-show show. First, the cast gathered onstage for a yoga and vocal warm-up, which was kind of fun to watch. Then all of the actors transformed into animals, crawling around the stage sniffing and growling at each other. I had a brief moment of fear - they're not going to do Romeo and Juliet as animals, are they? Fortunately that was not the case, and the exercise ended as quickly as it began. The actors/animals left the stage, and after a moment, the Prince entered, and the story began. I still have no idea what that was about; it was a strange preamble that seemed to have nothing to do with the play, but it certainly was interesting!
|the Friar (Paul Schoenack)
with the (momentarily) happy couple
(Christina Castro and Briana Patnode)
The Southern Theater contains the most beautiful stage in the Twin Cities. With the cavernous space in front of the original arch, the possibilities are endless, and it's perfectly suited to a classic story like Shakespeare's. Theatre Coup d'Etat makes good use of the space with just a few necessary and basic set pieces. The costumes (by Tyler Stamm) are simple but beautiful, classic with a modern twist. I appreciate that the Capulets wear a bit of red, while the Montagues wear a shade of blue, because sometimes I have a hard time remember who's on which side. Romeo's look - boots, leggings, and jacket - is not overly feminine, but not that different from what women wear today. Juliet's wardrobe is as lovely and sweet as she is.
This is a great production of a classic piece of theater. Romeo and Juliet is a show that's done so often, you almost need a new take on it to justify doing it again. Or rather, I need something different and interesting to make me want to see it again. Re-imagining Romeo as a woman is just that twist that makes you see and appreciate the story in a new way, without significantly changing it.
|the gorgeous wide open stage at the Southern Theater