First Posted: 1/15/2009
A lot has changed during the past 500 years. Traditions have disappeared. Technology has taken over.
So when Jeanne Koonce decided her Studio One troupe would perform William Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet,” she insisted on remaining true to the classic script while adapting it to modern times.
Commercial real estate empowers one family. It's arch-rival family earns status by conquests in courtrooms. Cell phones, text messaging and computers are used to communicate. Public sparring is done at a fencing club. “It's played out much like a nighttime TV drama,” Koonce said.
What hasn't changed is the language. The dialogue is Old English, not the American English familiar to Studio One performers.
“The language doesn't sit in your mouth well because it's not flowery,” Koonce said. “But it's a fundamental style of training for the theater. Shakespeare was a master of language. He's credited with creating between 45 and 50 words, and oddly enough many which found there way into law.”
The outdoor production will open Thursday and continue through Sunday. More performances will be staged April 26 through April 28. All shows are at the downtown plaza in Lumberton.
Koonce started rehearsals by having performers study the dialogue.
“You have to understanding the dialogue before you can add something to it,” said Sean Jaenicke, who portrays Romeo. “What we found was this show is a story about the past, present and future. The modern setting adds texture.”
Lance Carter, who portrays Tybalt, Romeo's headstrong enemy, said the modern setting makes the show more accessible to the audience.
“It's going to grab everyone's attention, especially teenage and middle schoolers,” Carter said. “Incorporating everyday life and how it would be done by people today is going to surprise people.”
The story of forbidden love is unchanged, but Alexis Bailey puts spunk into her portrayal of Juliet.
“She's very respectful of her parents but I had to modernize it a little by bringing in more attitude to the part,” Bailey said. “This was hard because Shakespeare hid so much inside the dialogue.”
Studio One's last Shakespearean production was “Mid Summer Nights Dream” in 2004. The troupe's last Shakespearean comedy was “Julius Caesar” in 2001.
“It was time,” Koonce said. “These kids need to learn about language and words and his style.”
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. For information, call 735-2441.
n “Talking Heads II” will be performed through Sunday at the Gilbert Theater. Tickets are $10. For information, call (910) 678-7186.
n The North Carolina State Ballet company will perform selections from “Swan Lake,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Red Riding Hood” on Sunday at the Crown Theatre. Tickets are $12. For information, call (910) 438-4100.
n Comedians Arnez J and Anthony Anderson will headline an April 27 show at the Crown Arena. Tickets are $42.50. For information, call (910) 223-2900.
n “Driving Miss Daisey” will be performed April 28 at the Crown Theatre. For information, call (910) 223-2300.
n “Urban Cowboy: The Musical” will be performed May 3 at the Given Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $12 to $25. For information, call 521-6361.
n The Playmakers Repertory “The Illusion” will be performed through May 4 at UNC-Chapel Hill's Center for Dramatic Arts. Tickets range from $10 to $40. For information, call (919) 962-7529.
n Comedian George Carlin will perform Thursday at Ralegh's Meyhandi Concert Hall. For information, call (919) 831-6060.
n Pure Prarie League will perform Friday at Wilmington's Thalian Hall. Tickets range from $22 to $45. For information, call (800) 3523-2820.
n George Thorogood will perform Friday at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Tickets range from $25 to $65. The Goo Goo Dolls are on stage April 24. For information, call (843) 272-3000.
n Widespread Panic will perform Friday and Saturday at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. Tickets range from $35 to $39. Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson are on stage May 12. Tickets range from $31 to $71. For information, call (910) 834-4000.
n Art Garfunkel will perform with the Charlotte Symphony on Saturday Ovens Auditorium. Tickets range from $20 to $60. Godsmack is on stage May 16. Tickets are $39. For information, call (704) 522-6500.
n Norah Jones performs Tuesday at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets range from $44 to $60. For information, call (888) 397-3100.
n Grass Strings and Hagar's Mountain Boys will perform April 28 at Robeson Community College's A.D. Lewis Auditorium. The concert is a part of the Lumber River Regional Bluegrass Association's monthly series. Tickets are $10. For information, call 736-0098, 738-6471 or 739-2046.
n Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special perform April 28 at the RBC Center.
n Pop singer JoJo will perform April 28 at 8 p.m. at Festival Park during Fayetteville's Dogwood Festival.
Michael Jaenicke can be reached at 739-4322, Ext. 149, or at [email protected].
Studio One will perform Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet” April 20, April 21 and from April 26 through April 29 at the downtown plaza in Lumberton. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. For information, call 735-2441.