Romeo and Juliet

We have tickets to tonight’s preview and first performance of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival production of R+J. I was reading director Nataki Garrett’s notes on the production and realized we share a connection with respect to the play. Her favorite movie rendition is the Franco Zeffirelli version. The Romeo in that film was played by Leonard Whiting, and it was Leonard who directed me when I played Romeo in an abridged production at Mills College in Oakland back in the late 1970s. (And it was Leonard who shared one of my favorite theatre stories about Sir John Gielgud during one of our R+J rehearsals — that might be the subject of another blog post.)

Her notes conclude with this paragraph, which hints at how Nataki is approaching this new OSF production:

I have always been curious about this story against the backdrop of desperation instead of abundance. Romeo and Juliet was borrowed from an original story and rewritten to reflect current British society back to itself. I am following the Bard in that regard—seeking what modern or ancient lessons can be unlocked if I do the same.

I am looking forward to seeing how she works her magic with this cast. Her production of Confederates was the highlight of last season’s festival, and I don’t think it’s an unreasonable expectation that this production of Romeo and Juliet will be our favorite this year. (I will follow up!)

Posted 18 April 2023 by Mark ·