'Romeo and Juliet' to open tonight
"Romeo and Juliet" is undoubtedly the best-known of Shakespeare's plays. As with so many of Shakespeare's works, it has been reinterpreted in every age according to the prevailing tastes.
The nineteenth century latched onto the ideal of romantic love presented in the young lovers' tale, immortalizing them in both opera and ballet.
Through the twentieth century it has similarly inspired a plethora of films and even a musical.
As such, it seems inevitable that the play be re-interpreted for the 1990s, this age of talk shows and e-mail, as a study of teen suicide.
Special resonance will certainly be felt by members of the Dartmouth community, following so closely on the heels of the strange coincidence of three separate suicides which have been the source of much campus conversation and concern.
One should not expect a true "updating" of the play, though. director Mara Sabinson has kept the original setting in Renaissance Italy, with period costumes designed by professor of drama Margaret Spicer.
Her exploration of the contemporary parallels will be most apparent in her treatment of the adult figures, whom Sabinson believes inadvertently bring about the double-suicide by failing to provide an adequate support network for their children.
"The Friar's a bumbler, the Nurse is a coward, the father's a tyrant, the mother's a wimp," Sabinson said. Described as such, one can almost imagine the whole dysfunctional group appearing on "Sally Jesse Raphael" to discuss the tragedy.
The star-crossed lovers will be portrayed by Eyal Podell '96, seen in the summer production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as Lysander, and Sarah Callies '99 in her first Dartmouth performance.
Spencer Doyle '98, seen but not heard in last winter's "Tartuffe," will play the Friar, and Dale Soules, a professional actor returning to Dartmouth after her residence this past summer as part of the New York Theater Workshop, will assume the role of the Nurse.
The cast also includes J. Morgan Drmaj '95 and Zachary Oberzan '96 as Romeo's companions, Mercutio and Benvolio, Charlie Fiodilis '98 as Paris and Jeff Wadlow '98 as Tybalt. The parents will be played by Rob Rees '97, Gretchen Lanka '97, Benjamin Brainard '96 and Jo Weingarten '98.
The scenic design by visiting assistant professor drama Ed Haynes will utilize a single permanent set and drop curtains of industrial mesh for scene changes.
This hotbed of "adolescent energy" will open Tuesday, Nov. 14 in the Moore Theater of the Hopkins Center.
Performances are Tuesday through Friday, Nov. 17 at 8:00 PM, Saturday, Nov. 18 at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM, and Sunday, Nov. 19 at 2:00 PM.
Admission is $7.00 for reserved seats, $2.00 with a Dartmouth student ID. Tickets are available from the Hopkins Center Box Office.