Producing for the Fringe Festival is a more or less all-consuming endeavour. Little spare time for blogging. Nevertheless: here I am!
As most of you will know (because you've purchased your tickets in advance, right?) we open tomorrow night at 10:15pm. The past week and a half has been nuts, and I can't say enough good things about the cast: hard-working, easy to work with, and exceptionally talented. (They seem to trust me, too, which could end up going either way.)
Having performed twice previously in this production (once as Romeo/Lady Capulet, once as Juliet/Mercutio), it has been a unique pleasure to be able to sit in the audience and watch it unfolding this time around. In all honesty, and with very little credit to myself, this is one of the most entertaining shows you will ever see. (Much credit to Michelle Boulet, who originally adapted R&J to the Stripped-Down format and directed the first 2 productions. Not to mention Maureen Petkau, who designed and built the gorgeous costumes. And Rob Borges, who choreographed the sword fights.)
There's something about Romeo and Juliet that particularly lends itself to the stripped-down treatment. For one thing, it is very much a comedy for the first three acts, so the laughs we earn through hysterically quick costume changes & boys in dresses feel like part of the story being told, rather than being obstacles, or appearing to take the piss out of the thing. The commitment of the actors' performances takes it beyond the realm of parody.
Also, the PACE at which the events of the play transpire, and the energy with which the characters all seem to go about their business ("too like the lightning which doth cease to be ere one can say 'it lightens'…'') are inherent to the play as a whole, so that trimming it down to a 60 minute running time (giver or take), in watching it, seems like the most natural thing in the world.
Even at 60 minutes, you still get 5 sword fights, a dance, and some of the world's most famous and memorable depictions of youth, in all its hormonally euphoric and tormented glory. Not to mention the several portraits of adults, in all their foolishness and wisdom, struggling to be good parents to their children (biological parents, like the Capulets, and adoptive or community parents like the Nurse and the Friar).
The fellas are coming over in about 20 minutes for a backyard stumble-through, I'll stop in my tale against the hare (I would else have made my tale large, and if you don't understand that reference, come see the show and you'll remember it for as long as you have memory).
Please do yourself a favour, and come see this show!