Monday, December 3, 2012


If you were asked to guess which of William Shakespeare's plays, both comedies and tragedies, is the most produced worldwide, would you answer "A Midsummer's Night Dream" or "Hamlet"?  Both would be wrong.  Since it was first published in 1597, "Romeo and Juliet" enjoys that distinction and the answer is in the hundreds of thousands.  It is certain that at any moment in time, it is being performed right this minute.

In fact, "Romeo and Juliet," that beloved classic about young love and family enmity, is available right in your own backyard as a splendid rendition is being offered until Sunday, December 9 by the Connecticut Repertory Theatre on the campus of the University of Connecticut.

This masterful story of first love, a deep affection set on a course to crash and burn, is timeless in its message.  When Romeo attends a masquerade ball given by his family's sworn enemies the Capulets, he becomes immediately taken with their only daughter Juliet.  Despite all the obstacles facing them, the pair bravely face the future with love igniting their souls.

Will Haden's Romeo is impassioned and powerful as the ill-fated suitor, seeking the hand of Hannah Kaplan's luminous Juliet, a girl forbidden for him to know.  The hatred of the Montagues, Romeo's kinsmen, against Juliet's Capulets, is long standing and dooms the couple to a grief filled future.  When Mercutio (Andrea Pane) is slain by Tybalt (Thomas Brazzle), Romeo is swept into the fray and accidentally takes Tybalt's life.

Despite the help of Juliet's loyal nurse (Nora Chester) and the accommodating Friar Lawrence (Richard Ruiz), the couple soon find themselves trapped in a violence not of their own making. Juliet's overbearing father (Anthony J. Goes) demands she marry the suitor of his choice, the Lord Paris (James Jelkin) and issues his ultimatum in a manner bordering on child abuse.  The quiet streets of Verona are marked by swordplay and bloodshed until the death-marked lovers pay the ultimate price for a quarrel begun long before they were even born.  Vincent J. Cardinal directs this complex tale with a strong hand and a surprising number of humorous moments.

For tickets ($6-30), call the Nafe Katter Theatre, 820 Bolton Road, Storrs or  Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Learn for yourself the lesson "for never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo,"  a couple who are ultimately united in death, teaching their parents the price they paid for their hatred.

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