Two young ladies star as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at Act Out Theatre in Dunmore March 20-22
From a press release:
“Romeo and Juliet” is the love story of children from disputing families. Romeo, heartbroken over being denied by Rosaline, attends a celebration thrown by Lord Capulet. It is there that he sees the beautiful Juliet, and it is love at first sight. What follows next is heartbreak, death, banishment, and a fatal end for the two young lovers.
The tragic tale is a rite of passage in most high school English classrooms. The cast has worked hard to make Shakespeare less intimidating for the general public.
“Shakespeare was great at writing productions that had a little something for everyone,” said Justin Topa from Scranton. Topa plays Mercutio in the production. “By delivering on the comedy within the tragedy and the double meanings behind the dialogue, we’ll be able to offer a show for all to enjoy.”
His counterpart in the show, Benvolio, played by Erich Hunisch of Moosic, agrees.
“Making Shakespeare ‘accessible’ is always a challenge for those who’ve never interacted with the source material,” Hunisch said. “Our large cast and individual takes on the characters in ‘R and J’ should be something audience members can latch onto and follow through to the all-too-recognizable climax of the show.”
“This production is different,” said Dan Pittman, Act Out Theatre Group’s artistic director. “Romeo is played by a young lady, so it makes for an interesting dynamic change for the two young lovers.”
The cast includes Grace Kapacs (Scranton) as Romeo, Kieran Elliott (Bear Creek Township) as Juliet, Kate Weston (Forty Fort) as Paris, Liv Anderson (Shavertown) as the nurse, John Bubul (West Pittston) as Friar Lawrence, Frank Carey (Dunmore) as Lord Montague, Gregg Germano (Scranton) as Lord Capulet, Natalie Asikaimen (Forty Fort) as Lady Montague, Branda Angel (Lake Ariel) as Lady Capulet, Tony Thomas (Wilkes-Barre) as Tybalt, Sam Greenfield (Old Forge) as Sampson and other various roles, Tate Elliott (Bear Creek Township) as Gregory and other roles, Bella Cerra (Scranton) as Peter and other roles, and Dan Pittman (Plymouth) as Prince Eschalus. Kieran and Tate Elliott are siblings.
The production staff includes Austin Burns, assistant director, who holds a masters degree in Shakespeare and Creativity from the Shakespeare Institute in the United Kingdom, as well as fight choreographers Elizabeth Guarneri-Powers and Jahmeel Powers, who received their masters degrees in theatre from Regent University.
The cast faces interesting challenges that come with performing a Shakespeare play. The director and assistant director will address the audience 15 minutes prior to the house opening to discuss what is to come and host a Q&A about Shakespeare’s words.
“The most challenging part of this production is learning the lines,” Weston said. “Shakespearean language is not something we use everyday.”
“Romeo and Juliet” runs on the Act Out stage (150 E. Grove St., Dunmore) from March 20-22, with performances on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10.
The theatre will also run a “Miscast Cabaret” from Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29.
“People should come see this show for the sake of culture and because this show is so commonly misunderstood,” Anderson said. “Yes, this is a romantic tragedy, but it’s also a comedic gem.”