Producing a Shakespeare play with teenagers can't be easy, but this production of Romeo and Juliet was a credit to both the performers and their directors, Maryna Harrison and Daniel Nischan.
The students in Oddfellows' Summer Shakespeare Academy have been meeting 7 hours a day all month, and their hard work shows. The Bard's words were clear and comprehensible - not always the case in amateur productions. There were many enjoyable performances, but I especially liked Zack Signore as Romeo, whose brow and carriage reflected every wrenching shift from woe to radiance and back again. Olive Kuhn gave us a Juliet who began as a bland and unformed young girl, and then developed a fire in her belly while commanding the stage. Particularly fluent with Shakespeare's phrases, Jacques Phelps as Mercutio was an audience favorite (before he departed the scene) and I would praise the girl who donned a button-down to swagger as Benvolio, but then you'd be able to accuse me of motherly pride.
On Thursday evening at 7:30 pm, they debut their production of Comedy of Errors, directed by Robert Resnikoff, with Susannah Resnikoff assisting. R&J repeats on Friday night (7:30) and Comedy of Errors again on Saturday (7:30). Wednesday's house was packed, so I'd advise calling the playhouse at (860) 347-6143 to reserve a seat.
Chatting with the Mayor during intermission, we wondered: how many towns can brag the number of cultural opportunities Middletown has enjoyed this month?
Did you go to the Bogie and Bacall film festival at Wesleyan? Perhaps the summer concerts at the South Green, or Wadsworth, or the Green Street Herb Garden? The teen theater production of Chicago? Or the ballet at Wesleyan? How about Shakespeare's Argument in the Grove? Jazz at the Canoe Club? Something at the Buttonwood?
No? You might want to check your pulse!