CHICAGO — Four hundred years ago, William Shakespeare wrote plays
that explored sexual
identity, familial obligation and public unrest. As a contentious election
cycle comes to a close this fall in the U.S., The Theatre School at DePaul
University will set Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” in the modern sociopolitical
landscape of Black Lives Matter and the struggle for gender equality.
Cameron Knight, an assistant professor teaching acting and Shakespeare at
DePaul, the production will run Nov. 4-13 on the Fullerton Stage at The Theatre
School. Verona will take on the look and feel of modern-day Chicago, explained
Knight. The infamous feud between the Montagues and the Capulets ends when
Romeo and Juliet, a pair of star-crossed female lovers in this presentation,
take their own lives.
one of the leading causes of death for teenagers and young people,” said
Knight. “This play traffics heavily in that theme, which led me to question
where the adults in the play are focused when their kids need them most.”
Knight also sees
many parallels in today’s political discourse. “While we’re busy fighting over
ideologies and politics, we’re ignoring the actual currency of our future,
which is our children,” he said.
reshaped several of the roles in the play to create more space for women on
stage. “Shakespeare’s plays don’t have large ensembles of women, so I’ve
reworked the cast so that many of the leading roles — Romeo, Mercutio and
Abraham — will be played by women,” he said.
Knight’s directing credits include “Pericles” at Notre Dame
Shakespeare; “Seven Guitars” and “Once on this Island” at Carnegie Mellon
University; “Underneath the Lintel” at 12 Peers Theater; and Bricolage
Theatre’s annual fundraiser (B.U.S.). His regional theatre credits include
Teatro Vista, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Texas
Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare
Festival, Richmond Shakespeare Festival, Michigan Shakespeare Festival,
Milwaukee Repertory Theatre and The Kennedy Center. Knight’s acting credits
include Othello in “Othello,” Dogberry in “Much Ado About Nothing,” Booth in “Topdog/Underdog,”
Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet,” John Worthing in “The Importance of Being
Earnest,” Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Hud in “Hair,” Cleante in “The
Imaginary Invalid,” Bill Walker in “Major Barbara,” and Cory in “Fences.”
features Emily Anderson as Gregory
and Apothecary; Hunter Bryant as
Montague, Friar and John; Matthew
Elam as Benvolio; Kayla
Forde as Juliet; Danny
Gadaj as Capulet; Elsa
Guenther as Mercutio; Caroline
Hendricks as Peter; JJ
McGlone as Friar Lawrence; Samantha
Newcomb as Lady Capulet; Emma
Page as Romeo; Courtney
Peck as Abraham; Elise
Randall as Nurse; Dekyi
Ronge as Prince; Isaiah
Rusk as Sampson and Watchman; Nick Trengove as Paris; and Andrew
Yeni as Tybalt.
production team includes Phil Timberlake, vocal coach; Claire DiVito, scenic designer;
Olivia Engobor, costume designer; James Mitchell, lighting designer; Connor
Wang, sound designer; Hannah Greenspan, dramaturg; and Ben Gates-Utter, stage manager.
are Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Previews are
Nov. 2-3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, preview tickets are $10 and student
tickets are $5. Subscriptions and group rates (six or more people) are
available. All tickets are reserved seating. Tickets are available by calling the
box office at 773-325-7900 or visiting http://theatre.depaul.edu.
School at DePaul University is located at 2350 N. Racine Ave. (at Fullerton
Avenue). The school is accessible via the Fullerton CTA Station and the
Fullerton (74) bus. Visitors and audience members may park in DePaul
University’s Clifton Parking Deck, located at 2330 N. Clifton Ave. Please call
the box office for more information.
who are blind or have low vision, the 2 p.m. performance Nov. 13 will include
audio description services, as well as a pre-performance touch tour. For more
information call 773-325-7900. The performance Nov. 13 will also be interpreted
in American Sign Language. TTY: 773-325-7975.
Nov. 9 at
7:30 p.m. is USO of IL Night, when U.S. Armed Forces personnel and their
families can attend the performance for free. Visit http://www.tixfortroops.org to reserve tickets, or call 773-325-7900 for more information.
special events include an opening night reception following the performance on
Nov. 4 and post-show discussions Nov. 6 and 10.
The Theatre School at DePaul University educates,
trains and inspires students of theatre in a conservatory setting that is
rigorous, disciplined and culturally diverse. As an integral part of the
training, The Theatre School produces public programs and performances from a
wide repertoire of classic, contemporary and original plays that challenge,
entertain and stimulate the imagination. Additional
information is at http://theatre.depaul.edu.
Kristin Claes Mathews