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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Aquila Theatre to present "Romeo and Juliet" Oct. 22 at Rozsa

HOUGHTON -- Experience the beauty of Aquila Theatre’s new production of Romeo and Juliet, playing at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. The story is so well known, star-crossed lovers who are doomed from the start, so why is this production special? This minimal adaptation is a joy of the senses: Simple, pared-down and shadowy, Aquila Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet, directed and adapted by Desiree Sanchez, is a completely new way to experience one of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays.

Shakespeare’s eight plus actors are cut down to five, the original seventeen roles reduced to eight. The story is condensed, focused, and chiseled away at until it stands out in uncluttered relief. Capulet is gone, and some of his lines go to his wife, Lady Capulet -- Juliet’s mother. The actors speak and move beautifully in choreographed precision. Sanchez creates a nearly architectural, unified effect moment to moment, one that is constantly shifting; these shifting effects mesmerize -- and, at times, astound.

Company composer Joe Louis Robertson has written a score that is modern and urban in tone. Costume Designer Clare Amos has created visually striking and classically elegant costumes, a memorable fusion that is surreal, cloud-like, and woven – the stuff of fairies and dreams. For the most part dimly lit, the stage brightens up here and there to set the mood and irradiate the action.

According to a recent review by Sam Hall, of DC Metro Theater Arts, "This is a very real and very serious production, full of shadows and chiaroscuro light. Romeo and Juliet step onstage as more than horny teenagers or conventionally doomed lovers. They are two young persons come together burning ardently within the flame of life, snuffed out in heedless misunderstanding…. We have here a remarkable fusion of design, text, and performance; of consciousness, scenery, sound, light, space, meaning, and movement. This is Romeo and Juliet as high tragedy, a balletic dream sculpted in moonstone ghost; a lighted candle melting in wax from mise-en-scène to mise-en-scène; a grandeur of poetry and high art. It is beautiful and disturbing. Deeply moving, without a trace of sentimentality."

A pre-performance discussion with Aquila Theatre tour members will take place at 7 p.m. in the Rozsa lobby. Tickets for Romeo and Juliet are on sale now: $24 for adults, $10 for youth, and no charge for Michigan Tech students with the Experience Tech fee. Advance reserved seating is now available, please order tickets early! Area high school groups will also be attending, at discount Class Acts rates (advance Class Acts school group reservations are required) as a part of the Rozsa Class Acts educational outreach program.

Tickets are available by phone at (906) 487-2073, online at, in person at the Central Ticketing Office in the Student Development Complex, or at the Rozsa Box Office the evening of the performance.  Please note the Rozsa Box Office only opens two hours prior to performances.

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