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Whats in a name? 

In Romeo and Juliet, the answer is: your role for the evening

click to enlarge 2005 LOIS GREENFIELD
  • 2005 Lois Greenfield

Every single night, the fates of six Aquila Theatre Company members rest squarely in the audiences hands.

The four actors and two actresses performing in Romeo and Juliet, which is touring internationally, know every role. Before a given performance, they come out one-by-one, and the audience literally picks from a bag the role or roles each will play for the evening.

There is a sense of great theater, that something may go terribly wrong, says Robert Richmond, associate director for the New York City-based company. But the premise for the show is that any good actor can play any part.

And with no catastrophic mishaps happening hitherto, the company has proved this to be true. Its been amazing; we have been incredibly lucky, thanks to a dedicated, hard-working cast, Richmond says.

The roles of Romeo and Juliet are chosen first; the remaining four actors have to play up to three roles each.

Richmond explains that Aquila aims to find a way to tell the story that is fresh-minted, to make it exciting and vital with the audience.

With 124 possible role combinations, costuming for this cast was no easy task. The companys solution was to create Elizabethan silhouettes of the characters, so each costume can fit any of the six actors.

According to Richmond, women have played the part of Romeo and men the part of Juliet which, he reminds us, is the traditional way.

Romeo and Juliet, part of the 2006-2007 Center Stage Performing Arts Series

The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center Theater, 210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo

Saturday, March 10, 4 p.m.

Tickets: $20; call 719/295-7222 for more.

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