The Indiana Repertory Theatre's Mainstage is currently home to one of the world's most famous love stories, just in time for Valentine's Day. Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" has been breaking audiences' hearts for centuries and this production is no exception.
To give the old story a new twist, the IRT's version of "Romeo and Juliet" is set in the 1940s. The Capulets are African American and Montagues are Caucasian, but when Romeo and Juliet see each other for the first time their love rises above the racial divide.
The production is the IRT debut for many in the cast. There are a few IRT regulars, but many of the leads, including the title duo, are new to the Indy scene. Though I love seeing familiar faces, it's always a treat when a local theater offers audiences a few new performers with a fresh perspective.
The play hinges on the audience believing that the two teens have fallen so completely in love that they literally can't live without each other. The problem is that the chemistry in this show feels forced. The scene in which Romeo and Juliet see each other for the first time is brief and there is little time for them to show any real connection.
Juliet's nurse, played by Karen Aldridge, does a wonderful job. She is at times playful and in the very next scenes she's shaking with rage and grief. I really enjoyed Claire Aubin Fort as Juliet as well. She has a sweet sincerity, but becomes filled with wild desperation as her world spins out of control.
The fact that the IRT is willing to include something from the Bard in its season every year is fantastic. The only true way for students to being introduced to Shakespeare is by seeing his work on stage. Every time I see his work performed it gives me a chances to watch the text come to life and it makes me fall in love with Shakespeare's masterful language all over again.
Don't Miss the Show
Performances: The show runs until Saturday, Feb. 27 on IRT's Mainstage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252.
Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com Prices begin at $29 with discounts available for students.
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois Street and southbound Capitol Avenue.
Photos courtesy of Julie Currie Photography