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L.A. Beat

Auditions this week for Shakespeare in The Park's summer production of Romeo and Juliet

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This is a big year for Shakespeare. In addition to  2016 being the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, it is also the fifth year of Lethbridge’s own Shakespeare in the Park. DJ Gellatly takes the  helm for Romeo and Juliet this summer. Photo by Richard Amery
 So in honour of those two milestones, Shakespeare in the Park is doing Romeo and Juliet this summer, their first tragedy after four successful comedies.

There are two chances to audition this week —  Wednesday, March 2 from 5-8 p.m. at Casa and Thursday, March 3 at the University of Lethbridge in room W422 from 5-9  p.m.
“ I played Capulet in Shakespeare in the Park in Calgary, so I know Romeo and Juliet really well,” said director DJ Gellatly, a familiar face with Shakespeare in the Park in Lethbridge as he played Bottom in a Midsummers Night’s Dream as well as  played Benedict in last summer’s production of “ Much Ado About Nothing.”

He is excited to bring an abridged version of  Romeo and Juliet to the stage.
“It’s a tragedy, but it starts out quite comical,” he said.
 Shakespeare in the Park producer Kate Connelly spent the winter creating the abridged version of the play to incorporate more female roles and trimmed some of the speeches to bring the play down to 90 minutes long.

The cast will include 15 people and some of the smaller roles will be double cast..
“I’m casting a wide net this year,” said Gellatly who has been spreading the word at local high schools in hopes if being able to cast younger actors in some of the younger roles and more mature actors for some of the more mature roles.
 He is also putting the play into a modern setting.

“We’ve worked hard to retain the essence of the play,” he said adding they have kept the characters and language of the play, but costumes will reflect the “romantic Italy” of the setting.

Connelly noted that will help the costume team a lot.
“They do an amazing job. This year will be more found items and they won’t have to create costumes from scratch,” she said.
Actors have  the option of e-mailing stage manager Jeneva Moxon at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to schedule an audition as 15 actors already have or just show up  at the two audition times.

“That’s what community members are used to,” Connelly said.
 Actors are welcome to prepare a piece to read, but selections from the play will be provided for those who want to do a cold read.
 Because Canada Day is on a Friday this year, Shakespeare in the Park starts later than usual, but to compensate, they are adding two extra Wednesday shows, Aug. 3 and 10 in addition to their usual Thursday and Friday performances in Galt Gardens beginning Thursday,  July 14 and ending Friday, Aug. 12.

In addition, this year, Shakespeare in the Park returns to the Coutts Centre outside of Nanton and makes it’s debut at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod on Saturday, July 30 as well as an Aug. 6 matinee at Casa.
 There will also be two promotional performances at the Mocha Cabana, July 8 and 9.
 Rehearsals begin May 8, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Gate.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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