What's it about?
Romeo and Juliet at Central Park is a performance of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays in a setting where the audience has to move throughout the park to get from scene to scene.
“We will transform five parks into Verona, with six actors playing all the roles in this fast-paced tour de force production” - New York Classical Theatre
The very fact that this production was going to be set in Central Park, while having the audience have to move throughout the park from scene to scene, is something I have never experienced before - and that is why I had to go.
For so long, I thought that “real” and “professional” theater had to be on Broadway, but I have never been so wrong. More often than not, the smaller theaters were more exclusive and even more expensive, and Broadway shows just had a high demand, and so Broadway just means that there are more seats in a theater. Crazy, no?
So, for the past few years I have heard about Shakespeare in the Park, but I never even considered going, I just didn’t think it would be worth it, but since my perspective has changed so drastically, when I heard that the New York Classical Theatre was doing a production of Romeo and Juliet throughout Central Park I got so excited! Not only was this in a different setting, but it’s even different from the Shakespeare in the Park that I’ve heard of beforehand.
Romeo and Juliet at Central Park was a show that made me feel like the audience was the center of attention instead of it being the actors, because it was the audience that had to be willing to move throughout the park to continue seeing the play, which is different from being inside a theater, where the show would go on regardless if people left their seats. Here, the actors had to wait for everyone to get situated with each scene change, and there was something very alive and in the moment about that. Especially since Central Park was still full of park-goers and bicyclists, it combined the world of theater, which is a sort of escape from reality, with reality, and that was beautiful. To see people having picnics and laughing ten feet from where a scene was being performed was very...present.
The actors would also weave through the audience and make comments on things people were eating or drinking, and even at one point, Romeo crouched down next to me while Juliet was calling for him, and he looked at me and said “Is she saying my name?” And I said, “YES! That’s for you!”
I loved that moment! I became a part of the reality of his given circumstances in the play, and that’s why theater is so exciting! Every experience will be different!
Tell us about your experience.
In the comments below.