20th Anniversary production of Romeo and Juliet presented by the Atlanta Shakespeare Company at Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse

Speakeysie News Desk – February 1, 2022

ATLANTA — Romeo and Juliet 

Directed by Kati Grace Brown 

$15 General Admission Preview Thursday February 10, 2022 

$20 General Admission Preview Friday February 11, 2022 

Performances February 12 – March 6, 2022 

Romeo and Juliet will have 2:30pm only Sunday performances on Feb 13 and March 6. Lunch menu available at 1:15pm. 

The performances on Sunday Feb 20 & 27 will be at 6:30pm only. 

In a violent and broken community, can love still exist, thrive and survive? We invite you to join us for our 20th anniversary production of William Shakespeare’s tragic love story. 

Cast 

Juliet – Destiny Freeman 

Romeo – Sariel Toribio 

Mercutio – Sean Kelley 

Benvolio – Sarah Beth Hester 

Tybalt – Benedetto Robinson 

Friar Lawrence – Kenneth Wigley 

Friar John – Brooklynn Grace 

Lord Capulet – O’Neil Delapenha / Nick Faircloth (shared role) 

Lady Capulet – Rachel Frawley 

Prince – Evan Judway 

Lord Montague – Brooklynn Grace 

Peter Potpan – Charlie Thomas 

Paris – Adam King

Nurse – Jasmine Renee Ellis 

Apothecary – Benedetto Robinson 

Abraham – Sarah Hack 

Gregory – Charlie Thomas 

Sampson – Sean Kelley 

Balthasar – Sarah Hack 

Paris’ Page – Rachel Frawley 

Tybalt’s Page – Sarah Hack 

Rosaline – Sarah Hack 

The Watch – Charlie Thomas, Sarah Beth Hester, Sean Kelley 

Musicians – Brooklynn Grace, Evan Judway, Sean Kelley, Sarah Beth Hester 

Synopsis for Romeo and Juliet 

-Adapted from The Pocket Companion to Shakespeare’s Plays by J.C. Trewin 

After a brawl between the rival families of Montague and Capulet, the Prince threatens with death anyone who “disturbs our streets again.” Romeo, Montague’s heir, masked at a Capulet dance, becomes infatuated with Capulet’s daughter, Juliet. From the garden he overhears her avowal as she stands on her balcony and their love scene follows. Next afternoon Friar Lawrence marries them in secret. 

When Romeo refuses to fight with Tybalt, a passionate Capulet (who is now his cousin by marriage), the gallant Mercutio takes the challenge himself. He is killed by mischance, and Romeo, enraged, kills Tybalt. In his absence the Prince banishes him; the Friar tells him to stay the night with Juliet and then wait in Mantua until recall is possible. When Juliet’s father insists that she shall marry a young nobleman, Paris, and she gets no aid from either her mother or her nurse, the Friar gives her an opiate (to take on the following night) that will put her in a death-like trance for “two-and-forty hours.” She will be laid in the Capulet vault; when she wakes, Romeo will be there. 

Juliet is duly placed in the vault as dead, but the Friar’s messenger to Mantua miscarries; hearing only of Juliet’s “death”, Romeo hastens to the tomb at night and is surprised by Paris whom he kills; in the vault he drinks poison he has bought from a Mantuan apothecary, and dies by Juliet’s side. She wakes as the desperate Friar enters, and on seeing Romeo dead, stabs herself. The Prince and the heads of the families are roused; over the bodies of their children Capulet and Montague are reconciled. 

Director’s Notes 

“It’s a sad song. It’s a tragedy. We’re gonna sing it anyway.”

These lyrics from Hadestown’s opening number struck me when I had the good fortune to see the show, approximately one week before it went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical that year. 

Having chosen to make Shakespeare’s now over 400 year-old stories the focus of my artistic career, I never forget that, as Hermes similarly points out about the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice, these are “old tales.” We know the ending before we begin. 

Even so, Romeo & Juliet continues to capture my interest and spark my curiosity. Revisiting Verona time and again I never lose my optimism that maybe this time perhaps we can fix what is broken in time to save this community and its children from misery and destruction. 

I have seen first-hand the devastation that years of aggravated political divisiveness, social and civil unrest and the fear and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought upon the children and teenagers of our time. Children look to their adult caretakers for guidance and assurances that no longer exist in our chaotic world. 

Verona’s children suffer from this same situation. They inherit prejudices born of conflicts so old that no one living remembers why they began. They look for absolute answers from well-intentioned adults who are grappling with their own uncertainties and fears. In Romeo & Juliet the plague spreads through Italy, imminently threatening to wreak the havoc we in the 21st century are all too familiar with. As a result, logical and reasonable decision-making breaks down entirely. 

As you watch this story of star-crossed lovers, I invite you to consider these questions: When have your best intentions accidentally caused an impact of harm? In a time of fear, division and confusion, how can our community foster love rather than hate as we pass along our knowledge and experiences to the next generation? 

Anton Chekhov famously said that “the role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” Romeo & Juliet poses many questions that are relevant to our modern world, and we are thrilled to bring these questions and this story to life for you today. 

It’s an old tale. It’s a tragedy. This evening we sing it again for you. Thank you for coming. 

BE MASKED AND VAXXED: OUR COVID PROTOCOLS FOR PATRONS: https://www.shakespearetavern.com/index.php?/news/show/what_you_need_to _know_about_our_reopening_in_august/ 

Head’s Up: Something You Should Know 

While it is our intent is to go forward with the show as listed, if a performance or two needs to be canceled, (but we are still allowed to welcome small audiences) Shakespeare Out of a Hat will be presented for those who wish to use those tickets.

Shakespeare Out Of a Hat: Romeo and Juliet 

No plans 

No rehearsals 

No way this will work (but it DOES!) 

What started as a Rolicking Good Time Tavern Late Night event in 2019 is now our Plan X if the current show can’t be performed that evening. We’ll gather our heartiest actors (both in guts and in negative COVID tests), pull their roles out of a hat just before showtime, and then present an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet, intermission and all, for you, our equally vaxxed ‘n masked ‘n COVID negative audience. 

Food and drinks available before and during intermission. 

All patrons with reservations for any canceled Romeo and Juliet will be given hopefully 24 hours notice of the schedule change. Exchanges are an option. 

What’s the likelihood this will happen? We are taking every action to go forward with our shows as scheduled. There’s apretty lowchance we would need to cancel a performance or two. We will announce any schedule changes on our website and social media outlets. 

 

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