Last night I got to experience the rousing free production of “Romeo and Juliet” by SF Shakespeare on the grounds of Sequoia High School. Directed by Rebecca J. Ennals, this production has sterling performances by its lead Lauren Spencer (Juliet) and Carl Holbrick (Romeo). But where the production really shines is in its supporting performances: Lord Capulet (Michael J. Asberry) Lady Capulet (Valerie Weak) and the Nurse (Gwen Loeb). Ms. Ennals has a deft hand also with Paris, the Prince, the sword fighters and kitchen staff.
The pace of the show is quick and witty, with rambunctious references to Shakespeare’s text and images. Little is lost in translation. The balcony speech, performed with fire engines blazing in the background on El Camino, lost none of its luster in the night. This was a testimony to the tenacity of the performers and the beauty of the evening.
Children and adults were captivated by the sword play and antics of Mercutio, Benvolio, and Tybalt. There is a program specifically for children (free) that starts a half an hour before each show. This, along with the plot synopsis in the program, quizzes, and bringing a blanket or picnic basket go a long way to making Shakespeare a kid-friendly experience.
There are three more free performances of this wonderful show: Sunday, August 16th at 4:00, Saturday, August 22 at 7:30 and Sunday August 23 at 4:00. You won’t want to miss it.
Next Week: Gearing up for school with classroom ideas.
Neva Hutchinson. Is a writer, teacher, actor, and director. She’s written ” Hey Shakespeare” a book and play for middle school teachers. To contact her, write firstname.lastname@example.org.