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Shakespeare's R&J

an adaptation by Joe Calarco
Full length, Drama
4 men
Total Cast: 4, No Set
ISBN-13: 978-0-8222-1679-7


MIN. PERFORMANCE FEE: $105 per performance.
THE STORY: Four young prep school students, tired of going through the usual drill of conjugating Latin and other tedious school routines, decide to vary their very governed lives. After school, one breaks out a copy of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and they all take turns reading the play aloud. The Bard’s words and the story itself are thrilling to the boys, and they become swept away, enmeshed in the emotion so much so that they break school rules in order to continue their readings. The rigidity of their lives begins to parallel the lives of the characters in the play: roles in the family, roles in society, and the roles played by men and women soon seem to make all the sense in the world, and then, suddenly, they seem to make no sense at all. Although they had been taking turns playing all the parts, two eventually emerge playing Romeo and Juliet exclusively, bringing a whole new dimension to the proceedings. Perceptions and understanding are turned upside-down as the fun of play-acting turns serious, and the words and meanings begin to hit home and universal truths emerge.
“Hot-blooded…Wrenching…[It] pulsates with an adolescent abandon and electricity of which Romeo himself might approve.” —The New York Times.

“R&J is a gem, the most inventive reimagining of a classic in years.” —Wall Street Journal.

“A revelatory adaptation. One will never view the Shakespeare war horse without this production in the mind’s eye.” —USA Today.

“This is one of the most electrifying adaptations of Shakespeare I have ever seen. When it comes to originality, sexiness, and daring, it is right up there with West Side Story.” — The Telegraph (UK).

“A superb version that will open your eyes and ears to the piece as if you were experiencing it with unjaded wonder for the first time.” — The Independent (UK).