Author: Russell Warne

Lessons learned from seeing 4 productions of ROMEO & JULIET

In the space of seven months—from July 2017 to February 2018—I have seen four separate stage productions of Romeo and Juliet in Utah. Now it’s time for me to take a step back and evaluate what I learned from seeing four productions of Shakespeare‘s tale of “star-cross’d lovers.” The Poetry Matters Unless a rhyming couplet is unavoidable or the iambic pentameter is particularly strong, I don’t look for Shakespeare’s poetry when I watch a play. But the production at the Utah Shakespeare Festival last summer was particularly poetic, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The swinging...

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Get “One Step Closer” to HCTO’s THE LITTLE MERMAID

OREM — In the depths of a dreary, brown Utah winter, there’s a bright spot on stage: The Little Mermaid at Hale Center Theater Orem. This bright and joyous adaptation (with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater) is a sunny escape from the cold for theatre goers of all ages. Generally speaking, the performances of The Little Mermaid were best when the actors ignored the film version of their characters. Lauren Pope is a sweet Ariel, and her renditions of “Part of Your World” and “Beyond My Wildest Dreams” were full of curiosity and...

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ROMEO Y JULIETA at BYU gives a new spin to an old classic

PROVO — Romeo and Juliet is one of the most timeless plays ever written because of its focus on two of the most basic human emotions: love and hate. But a new adaptation for young audiences at BYU, Romeo y Julieta, updates the story by changing the Capulets to the Hispanic Capuletos, thereby adding a dimension of cultural misunderstanding as a cause of the tragedy of the star-crossed lovers. In an era of increasing cultural diversity, this adaptation makes the story more pertinent to contemporary life without ignoring the play’s emotional core. Director Julia Ashworth took a risk in...

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5th annual OFF THE MAP: Catch SECRET LIFE. Pass on MACBETH.

PROVO — Now in its 5th year, BYU’s international theatre festival, Off the Map, has imported an eclectic mix of productions: puppet theatre, an audience collaboration piece, and a Shakespeare adaptation. All give Utah audiences a taste of the diversity of worldwide modern theatre in the 21st century. The first week of Off the Map this year features The Secret Life of Suitcases and Macbeth, while The Fever opens February 1. The Secret Life of Suitcases Originating in Scotland, The Secret Life of Suitcases is an innovative puppetry show created by Ailie Cohen and Lewis Hetherington. The play tells the...

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Sneak away to Grassroots’s ROMEO & JULIET at SCERA

OREM — Romeo and Juliet are Shakespeare‘s famous “star-crossed lovers” whose whirlwind romance ends in tragedy. Their story is on stage again in Utah, thanks to the Grassroots Shakespeare Company and the SCERA. Unfortunately, just like the title characters’ romance, this production’s run is far too brief. I hope readers in Utah County will see this version of Romeo and Juliet before it closes on Saturday. Longtime UTBA readers know that Grassroots blends Renaissance-era and modern theatrical practices. The biggest difference between a Grassroots Shakespeare production and most modern productions is the lack of a director. Thankfully, Romeo and Juliet...

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