Shakespeare in the Park celebrates their fifth year performing the Bard in Galt Gardens by tackling one of Shakespeare’ beloved tragedy “ Romeo and Juliet.”
The show runs in Galt Gardens, July 14,15,21,22,28,29 and August 3-5,10-12. They are also performing a matinee at Casa, Aug 6 at 2 p.m.
“Things are going very well,” said director DJ Gellatly.
“I’ve been very impressed with the cast. There is a lot of really great diversity on the cast. it’s just working,” he said, before a rehearsal at the Gate, which is letting them store set and props there as well as allowing them rehearsal space.
He has set the play in contemporary Italy. This year the cast includes a couple of high school students playing the younger characters including Chinook high school student Emily Klink as Juliet and LCI student Halla Wagner plus an eclectic group of Shakespeare in the Park veterans, University of Lethbridge students and recent graduates plus familiar faces from the local community theatre scene.
“I really wanted to emphasize the age difference of the actors. You can see the old guard versus the new guard. Older actors are in the more senior roles like Montague and Capulet and I cast younger actors in the younger roles,” Gellatly said, adding Garrett Bishoff is Romeo because he wanted a strong, experienced actor to play Romeo.
“Everyone is off book, which helps me as director and everybody is really buying into the philosophy of the show, which is nice,” he continued.
“We did a lot of character work at the beginning, exploring why the characters say and do what they do. We talked a lot about what they are hoping to achieve to bring the characters to a full arch,” he continued.
“Especially Juliet. She‘s a really logical girl yet youthful. Our actress has really embraced that. She’s 17 and really mature. Sharon Peat runs a very good program at Chinook so I asked her specifically who would make a really good Juliet,” he continued.
“There are a lot of talented young ladies in the play,” he said.
“She suggested three young ladies and two of them are in the play,” he continued, adding Shakespeare in the Park veteran Garrett Bishoff takes on the role of impetuous youth Romeo.
“Impetuous youth is a great way of putting it. He uses a lot of flowery speech. He’s a very poetic speaker, which makes him come across as being very high brow, but Garrett is doing a great job of humanizing him,” Gellatly said.
“He comes across as very pompous, but he goes through a lot of different emotions. He’s a misanthrope mooning over his love for Juliet. He goes through the courtship process very quickly and gets married very quickly, then gets into a fight and kills Tybalt and gets banished. He goes through the full spectrum of emotions and Garrett has done an admirable job with him,” he continued.
He had to recast the part of the friar as his first choice Camille Pavlenko will be performing in New West Theatre’s August show “Heatwave.”
“She couldn’t do both shows,” he said, adding it would have been a lot of fun with the friar as a female.
David Gabert, who most people know from being at the helm of long-standing Lethbridge improv troupe the Drama Nutz is excited to play Montague, head of the feuding Montague house.
“It’s really nice to do something that is scripted,” he said.