August 4th, 2011
Well. The Winnipeg Fringe Festival has officially come and gone, and with it: Shakespeare in the Ruins' Stripped-Down Romeo & Juliet (coming next: Shakespeare in the Ruins' Stripped-Down Romeo & Juliet).
The experience of producing SIRSDR&J at this year's fringe could be characterized as mixed. It was incredibly gratifying and satisfying to see (for the most part) a brand new audience so thoroughly enjoying this unbelievably entertaining adaptation, and so obviously appreciating the amazing work of the actors.
As the motivation behind this production was to expose the fine work being done here at SIR to the fringe demographic and help raise a few bucks in the process, the 340-some tickets sold (420 in overall attendance) was, while by no means a disaster, rather disappointing, particularly following the inexplicably under-attended Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2.
They always say that word of mouth is the best way to succeed at the fringe, but I firmly believe that advance word of mouth is more specifically accurate, and that can only come from one source: the media. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, SIRSDR&J did not receive the advance media buzz I assumed it would.
Here are some links to the media attention we did receive:
Terry Moor, UMFM
Speaking of the media (and at the risk of flogging an unkillable horse), I must add that, having entered into this endeavor with the spirit of SIR's mandate to promote, celebrate, and make universally accessible the works of Shakespeare, I found the attempt by Al Rae (a self-described "big fan of SIR in the park") to characterize as phony anyone who demonstrably claims to enjoy Shakespeare's comedy galling, enraging, and ultimately depressing.
With fans like that, who needs enemas?
All of that having now been expelled from my gullet, it's time to get excited about the impending touring production of Stripped-Down Romeo & Juliet! With Michelle Boulet back in the wagoner's seat and casting finalized, it's sure to please everyone who sees it. (If you're lucky, we might even hold a public performance just for you!)
Here's the cast:
Derek Leenhouts as Abram, Romeo, Lady Capulet
Ariel Levine as Mercutio, Juliet
Rob McLaughlin as Tybalt, Paris, Nurse, Apothecary
Glen Thompson as Benvolio, Capulet, Friar Lawrence
Daniel Thau-Eleff as Prince, Friar John