With its soaring depiction of first love, R+J remains one of our most celebrated romances. But our production is also deeply invested in the play’s examination of a community in strife. As families war against each other, a state dissolves into violence.
Shakespeare’s Verona might be any number of cities today. Whether we consider our current political divisions or the heated debates about urban gentrification, we see the notion of “us versus them” all around. And when we cast another group as “the other”, their humanity is lost to us.
Like Shakespeare’s Verona, Oakland is home to many different citizens all working and living beside each other. From its incredible diversity to its rich cultural landscape, Oakland bears a complex, proud identity. And like Verona, it has also experienced deep division and discord.
Moreover, Oakland has seen a recent burst of artistic growth. Yet there remain relatively few options for live, professional theater. We’re excited to help fill that void and bring more Shakespeare to our city.
We plan to bring our play to several local middle and high schools. We believe Shakespeare and theater are powerful teaching tools, and we’re excited to interact with students.