DUBOIS – The Montague and Capulet family feud erupts at the Reitz Theater. When Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet meet by chance, the two lovers defy their entire world to be together.
Reitz Theater Players’ Director Mary Beth Geppert is a Shakespearean scholar holding a Master’s of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University through a partnership with the American Shakespeare Center.
Geppert also taught Shakespeare at a University in London and Stratford upon Avon, England, for five years.
Joining her love and knowledge of Shakespeare with local talent inspired her to bring out the bawdy comedy in the famous tragedy.
Geppert’s bold, modern production goes beyond romantic stereotypes to reveal the bawdy and powerful love story that ignites an inferno in a dangerously divided community.
This production, marked by speed and caring, attempts to recreate the conditions of Shakespeare’s original language within a 1958 setting.
The rapid pacing works particularly well in this play, in which characters are marked by impulsiveness and haste. This play, notably, is about people with incredibly bad timing, if only Romeo had waited an extra moment or two before killing himself.
That said, this show is quite funny for a tragedy, and Geppert here highlights, indeed glories in all the bawdiness and silliness she can find in the piece, something downplayed in many other stately productions.
And, of course, the comedy is there. Of paramount importance to the effect of the play is the casting of the lovers.
Tom Hibbert III’s Romeo and Misti Bruner’s (Reigel Quick) Juliet will evoke the fervor and eagerness of juvenile attraction.
Gene Deible, an original founder of the Reitz Theater, will grace the stage in one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedic roles – Juliet’s wet nurse with Peter (David Reitz) as her ever present side kick.
The cast hails from St. Marys, Reynoldsville, Clearfield, DuBois and Curwensville.
Cast members include: Tyson Titler (Prince Escalus), Thomas J. Evans IV (Mercutio and Fight Choreographer), Maria Werner (Benvolio), Tim Weidow (Lord Capulet), Hannah Allen (Lady Capulet), Bob Spence (Lord Montague), Alyssa Wood (Lady Montague), Andrew Benson (County Paris/Tybalt Capulet), David Phillips (Friar Laurence) and Kaylee Santell (Petruchio).
The production team, which is led by Geppert, consists of: Assistant Director (Language) Darla Brunquell, Assistant Director (Movement) Lisa Rutherford, Stage Manager Brianna Weber, Set Designer Gene Deible, Costume Designer Nicki Gutowski, Lighting Design by Deible and Brian Shaffer and Cultural Resources Inc. Board Liaison Deborah Whitaker.
Romeo & Juliet, a Tragic Comedy, set in 1958, is sponsored by Wise Eyes and Hopkins Heltzel Law Firm.
Opening night is Friday, Feb. 9 with shows at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17 and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Feb. 11.
You can purchase tickets online at www.reitztheater.com, at Kohlhepp’s True Value and at the Box Office on Thursdays between 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Tickets are $10 general seating with 10 percent of all ticket sales going to Clearfield Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team.
You can join theater members after the show Sunday, Feb. 11 for a post-show talk with representatives from the local suicide prevention team.