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Shakespeare's R & J' Provides Life Lesson

June 20, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The setting for “Shakespeare's R & J,” Joe Calarco's fresh and lively award- winning adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” is an exclusive, yet oppressive, boy's boarding school, where students are forbidden to read Shakespeare's romantic tale about adolescent lovers.

“Shakespeare's R & J” will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday, July 7; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 8; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 9; 8 p.m. Friday, July 14; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 15; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 16; 8 p.m. Friday, July 21; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 22; and 2 p.m. Sunday, July 23, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theatre, 1949 Campus Drive, on Northwestern University's Evanston campus.

Calarco's drama is part of Northwestern's Summerfest 2006 Theatre Festival. Featuring an all-male cast, his coming-of-age play follows four young prep school students who grow weary of conjugating Latin and other tedious school routines and who secretly read Shakespeare's romantic tale aloud in order to create some excitement in their lives. As the boys become enmeshed in the emotions of Shakespeare's words and story, their lives begin to parallel those of the characters in the play with surprising, explosive and thrilling results.

Most of the play is the text of “Romeo and Juliet,” said director David Downs, associate professor of theatre at Northwestern.

“What appeals to me most about this play is that it's about young kids in a very strict environment who decide to read Shakespeare at night in order to learn about life,” said Downs. “Through their experience of 'Romeo and Juliet' the boys discover what it means to be an adult, what it means to have power and what sexuality and love mean. And the audience experiences Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' through the eyes of these four boys.”

The production is recommended for children aged 14 and older and adults.

Tickets are $20 for the general public; $17 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for students and children.

For more information or to order single or group tickets by phone, call the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or go to http://www.tic.northwestern.edu/tickets.html and clicking the TicketWeb icon.

Topics: Campus Life