O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Juliet may pine longingly over her doomed lover’s whereabouts, but Hudson Valley residents need only take a trip to Woodstock to encounter the Bard’s most iconic couple. This summer, the Woodstock Shakespeare Festival returns to its upstate headquarters for its 23rd season.
Presented by Bird-On-A-Cliff Theatre Company, Romeo and Juliet kicks off on July 27 and runs until September 2. Christopher Martin, the founding artistic director of Classic Stage Company in New York City, directs this year’s performance, which features David Remple as Romeo and Yasemin Eti as Juliet.
If you’re wondering whether this rendition of the play will fall more along the lines of the Shakespearean original or the Leonardo DiCaprio contemporary interpretation, prepare yourself for a hybrid that hearkens back to the classic but includes a few modern touches, too. The festival stage, for instance, is an original. Built outdoors by Broadway designer Salvatore Tagliarino in 1996, the stage is ideal for summertime performances. Visitors can bring blankets, chairs, and picnics to set up camp in front of the wooden platform. The costumes, however, are more modern than their Elizabethan ancestors and add a touch of the present day to the timeless piece.
Portia and Bassanio from last season will play Romeo and Juliet. Let to right: Yasemin Eti, Michelle Turner, David Remple / Photo by David Aston-Reese
Romeo and Juliet runs at the Shakespeare stage every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until early September 2. The show begins at 5:30 p.m., so plan to arrive early to set up shop on the lawn. Although there is no formal admission fee, Bird-On-A-Cliff has a suggested donation price of $10.
In years past, the festival has covered an extensive number of the Bard’s literature, including The Merchant of Venice (2017), The Comedy of Errors (2016), and Twelfth Night (2014). It also adds color to its lineup with renditions of other literary classics like Severely Fractured Fairy Tales (2016) and The Wizard of Oz (2015).
Woodstock Shakespeare Festival
45 Comeau Drive, Woodstock
An audience watches the 2017 performance. Photo by Francis X. Driscoll