Romeo and Juliet

“Two households, both alike in dignity…” The stage lights reveal a man standing in a burial vault. He speaks of the famous pair of star-crossed lovers. But something is different…Is the man wearing tattoo sleeves?  “Is this the right show?” The audience wonders. “There must be some mistake,” they think. Nope. No mistake here. This production of “Romeo and Juliet” has a splash of the 21st century.

 The Intrepid Shakespeare Company’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” officially opened last weekend, after two weeks of practice performances. What could be better than seeing one of the most popular plays of all time? Seeing a modernized version where Romeo wears jeans and Converse, and the Capulet family look like they joined the mafia. “Romeo and Juliet” is well worth the $15 student ticket price.   

 The play had more humor than expected. The fact that it was modernized made it a just a tad more entertaining than listening to classmates read it freshmen year. For example, the costumes varied from bed sheets to suits. Juliet wore short floral-print dresses and Lady Capulet wore pencil skirts and pumps. 

 Like in Baz Luhrmann’s movie version, with Leonardo DiCaprio, “Romeo and Juliet” had its differences from the original text.  Lord Capulet had a physical illness, and the apothecary was a homeless drug dealer. Also, bare fists and knives, were used instead of swords. The biggest difference was probably that Romeo died by shooting up and Juliet put a pistol in her mouth.  

 All theatrics aside, the content itself was well rehearsed and put together. The professional actors and student interns did an exceptional job. Watching the interns embrace their roles is a plus, especially when you know them.  However, the sexual innuendos were a little distracting. The Montague boys would crack jokes and the audience would be so shocked that they would miss the next few pieces of dialogue. 

 The dialogue was fairly easy to understand and not too much was added.  Seeing Shakespeare preformed is easier to comprehend than reading it.  Romeo did speak rather quickly at times, but who can blame him? He did just find the love of his life.     

 “Romeo and Juliet” will run through Oct. 17 at The Roundabout Theater.