This March, Guild Hall in East Hampton is putting its own exciting twist on a love story that many are well versed in, Romeo and Juliet – the iconic tale of two young star-crossed lovers from feuding families whose deaths end up uniting the longtime enemies. While the William Shakespeare romantic tragedy has been adapted numerous times – with many high profile actors, including Orlando Bloom, Condola Rashad, Laurence Olivier, and Judi Dench, taking on the icon leads – this contemporary interpretation showcases 21 actors that range from talented young high school students to seasoned veteran Actor’s Equity professionals.
“This is a dreamy cast overflowing with bold, youthful energy that helps feed the overall tone and style Josh has decided to take with this interpretation,” shared Kate Mueth, who choreographed the production and also stars as the nurse. “Shakespeare all too often gets taken too seriously and this then bleeds into making very sleepy, spiritless plays.”
Set to a post-punk score, this innovative adaptation delves into classic Romeo and Juliet themes – like the powerful nature of love, with a reimagined, modern perspective that “sings a message of pure love and compassion in the face of community violence, prejudice and hatred.”
“You would think that a play written over 400 years ago would have no relevance, topicality, or interest to an audience today,” said Josh Gladstone, the Artistic Director of Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater, who directs and stars as Capulet. “However, in studying and working with this gorgeous language we have mined such an emotional level of truth about love in the face of hatred—about the power of choices made in the face of conflict—that I can think of few plays that are more resonant with what’s going on with our country and world today.”
Guild Hall’s Romeo and Juliet stars Frankie Bademci, Michael Clancy, Josh Gladstone, Everett Hibner, Quinn Jackson, Jamar Jones, Carlos Lama, Lola Lama, Eden Lowlicht, Gaylin Davey, Kate Mueth, Minerva Perez, Dan Renkin – who also serves as the Fight Director, Tyler Rivera, Reilly Rose Schombs, Michael Ruggiere, Susan Stout, Charlie Westfal, Gerri Wilson, and Jamil Zraikat, with Alexander Might as Romeo and Olivia De Salvo as Juliet.
“Today more than ever, finding and articulating the driving pulse and the powerful love (no matter the age) is of the utmost importance in our work as artists,” Mueth said.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet can be seen Wednesday, March 14 through Sunday, March 25, with shows on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m. and Fridays through Sundays at 7 p.m.
“Whatever this production ends up being for the audience, the process has been wildly invigorating and alive and joyous,” Mueth reflected. “When this is the heart of a company it makes the work of making dances and movement or relating to my fellow ensemble as the Nurse easier and so much fun. The exploration really has been divine.”
Performances on Friday, March 23 through Sunday, March 25 will be offered as part of Hamptons Arts Network’s inaugural The Hamptons Arts Weekend Festival (THAW Fest). For more information, visit www.hamptonsartsnetwork.org.
Tickets are $25 for general admission, $23 for members and $10 for students.
Additionally, Richard Horwich will lead a complimentary lecture, Romeo and Juliet: Too Much, Too Soon, on Sunday, March 18 at 3:30 p.m. and Guild Hall’s Teen Arts Council will present a special post-show talk-back on Friday, March 23.
Hamptons International Film Festival will hold a master class on the film versions of Romeo and Juliet at Guild Hall on Saturday, March 24 as part of THAW Fest. The event, which will be held from 4 to 5 p.m., will cover the Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic interpretations of the Shakespearean classic.
Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-0806 or visit www.guildhall.org.