Peter Galman, Founder of Shakespeare Troupe, is bringing “Romeo and Juliet” to schools and venues across South Florida throughout the summer and fall. “As a play for young audiences, 'Romeo and Juliet' has many lessons in the bad decisions made by the people in the story. In the classical sense, tragedy occurs when one knows one’s fate, but still attempts to follow the course of life. Shakespeare Troupe focuses on making the text clear and accessible to audiences so they will witness the passionate, violent and impetuous acts and understand the forces that drive each character in the play.”
Dynamics move through the story bringing it to its tragic end. Juliet strives to break from an arranged marriage that she sees as confining her quest for individuality. The Montague’s only son, Romeo, offers peace in place of fighting with a shroud of love and beauty. The Capulets hope to gain the upper hand in town with a marriage of their daughter, Juliet, to nobility. Juliet’s Nurse, who has been in charge of her upbringing, sees her younger self in Juliet’s determination to break free of the culture that subordinates women. The Friar revels in the Renaissance values of intellectual pursuit, scientific advances and exploration of soul in art that ironically contradicts church dogma.
“It’s all there in the text,” Mr. Galman says about the challenges the Troupe faces in reaching young audiences. “Our process starts with the glorious language. We do not, however, ignore the heart-thumping excitement of the sword fights, the passionate kisses and the suicidal acts that ensue when things go awry. These make for great theatre, and the execution of the duels, the balcony scene and all the potions that are misused must be done on stage with great care.”
Shakespeare Troupe has been very successful thus far with “Romeo and Juliet” performances. “We have edited the play to one hour for young audiences who have busy schedules with prearranged time periods for classes and other activities. We hold Q&A sessions, which students enjoy the most especially as they are interested in the actor’s process and profession. When we break into follow-up workshops with students, we attempt to expand their understanding of the language and circumstances that are so important in the play.” Mr. Galman notes that teachers are especially gratified for the individual approach. “For venues like Pompano Beach Cultural Center, we bring this format to the general audience, which can then be promoted as kid-friendly or family entertainment. Shakespeare can be very R-rated if all the sexual references and bawdiness are highlighted, but for our purposes, those sections are sanitized or eliminated altogether.”
“The future is very bright for Shakespeare Troupe,” said Mr. Galman. “We’re booking school shows and will announce touring dates in August. We will continue to offer 'Romeo and Juliet' along with 'A Midsummer Night’s Dream' and 'Julius Caesar,' a play that is often found in the curriculum of teaching English literature. We are also looking forward to a three-week run of 'Romeo and Juliet' at Pompano Beach Cultural Center, and are in discussions with the Cultural Affairs Department about the timing of that run.”
“We are aiming high,” Mr. Galman happily notes. “We are building a professional company with Equity contracts. We are presenting four plays in a Summer Series at the Boca Black Box Center for the Arts on the third Wednesday of each month, June through September.” Shakespeare Troupe is very excited to be a part of South Florida Theatre League’s Summer Theatre Fest this year. The Troupe will be presenting a night of short plays derived from Shakespeare on August 19 at Pompano Beach Cultural Center. The event, “Quoting Shakespeare,” will draw plays from local playwrights whose work will be read by Troupe members.
“It’s a mission. A passion. Of mine and all of the Troupe members. Supporters, donors and audiences are now joining us in our mission to continue to bring the passion of Shakespeare to everyone.”
For more information: http://shakestroupe.org
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