Parkrose High thespians enliven ‘Romeo & Juliet’

No one will nod off for a nap during this adaptation of this classic Shakespeare play! See why you should get tickets right now to see this limited run, “black box” production May 10‚11, 12‚

Juliet (Jacquelle Davis) and Romeo (Tyree Harris) prepare for a scene from the upcoming production of Romeo & Juliet.

Story and photo by David F. Ashton
While thousands of people travel to Ashland to see the works of William Shakespeare every summer‚ most regular folks usually consider his plays to be long, and rather boring, shows.

Entering Stage Left: ‘Black Box’ Romeo & Juliet
“This production of Shakespeare is more to-the-point,” says Parkrose High School theater instructor, and director of Thespian Troupe 1783, Ms. Zena.

“We changed the pacing‚ the scenes blend one into another,” she adds. “The action is continuous. And, we’ve created a sound track to go with the production‚ this enhances the dramatic effect of the words.”

Unlike “Arsenic & Old Lace“‚ presented on stage with a professional multi-level set and theatrical lighting‚ this production of Romeo & Juliet is what Zena describes as a “black-box” style of theater.

The first thing audience members will notice is that they are being seated on the stage of the Parkrose Theater. “We’re using alternative spaces in the theater, including the catwalks and stairs, for example,” she explains.

Intimate drama
The action takes place on the stage, in and amongst the audience members, allowing for a more intimate theatrical experience.

“The show will run a little over an hour,” Zena continues. “This version of Romeo & Juliet is abbreviated quite a bit. It makes it more of a one-act style production. We’re still using Shakespeare’s language‚ but instead of saying everything three times, as he’s written‚ we’re saying it once. We’re getting to the point.”

The idea is, Zena tells us, it to make Shakespeare more accessible to the school’s younger audience, and “to introduce our community audience who may not have seen a performance of Shakespeare’s work.”

Adapting Shakespeare’s plays isn’t new to Zena. “I’ve been doing this with Shakespeare for thirteen years. I really like creating these adaptations, because it encourages kids to explore, and get excited about, Shakespeare. Typically, most young people‚ in fact, many actors‚ are ‘afraid’ of Shakespeare. Presenting Shakespeare in this way makes his work fun.”

Limited tickets
Because of this unique seating arrangement, each performance will be limited to 150 audience members. Don’t miss out on “culture-made-fun”‚ call (503) 408-2621 to reserve your tickets today.

Romeo & Juliet

  • May 10, 11, 12
  • Tickets $5 for all patrons
  • 7 p.m. curtain

At the “Black Box Theatre”
Parkrose High School
12003 NE Shaver Street (at NE 122nd Ave.)

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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