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reviewed by Adam Crowe

Scheduling conflicts have made Ken unavailable. That’s lucky for me, as it means I was able to attend Opening Night at the Indiana Repertory Theatre for their production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. IRT’s current adaptation is presented in about 90 minutes, without Intermission. Fear not – all of the well known poetry from this classic remains. This version, partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, is aimed at school audiences. Thanks to the funding, thousands of Hoosier students will be able to experience a classic of Western literature.

My own familiarity with the play leans more towards the cultural rather than the academic. Thus, I cannot really identify what parts of the full length play were omitted from this version. I can attest that, for the most part, the storytelling is clear and brisk.

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Sophia Macías and Aaron Kirby are star-crossed lovers in “Romeo and Juliet” at IRT UpperStage.

As a local actor myself, I am happy to report that the cast is somewhat weighted towards local talent, including Ryan Artzberger, Ashley Dillard, Jeremy Fisher, Constance Macy, Logan Moore, Millicent Wright, and Robert Neal. All excel, with Wright bringing the most delight as the Nurse of the House of Capulet. Aaron Kirby and Sophia Macías provide the exuberance as the titular teenagers in love, while Charles Pasternak rounds out the cast in multiple, pivotal roles.

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Ryan Artzberger as Friar Laurence and Aaron Kirby as Romeo in a scene from IRT’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

Henry Woronicz, a frequent actor on IRT’s stage, handles the directing duties and is wise enough not to let anything get between his talented cast and the beautiful language. On the technical side, Eric Barker’s set is spare, yet appropriately evocative. Todd Reischman’s sound provides excellent accompaniment and Michael Jackson’s lighting is spot on (pardon the pun). Courtney Foxworthy and Linda Pisano have provided contemporary costuming that fits the Director’s vision.

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Millicent Wright as Nurse in a scene with Sophia Macías as Juliet in IRT’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

If you’ve never seen this classic onstage, IRT’s production gives you a perfect opportunity to experience this timeless love story and its beautiful language, brought fully to life by cast and crew.

Romeo and Juliet runs until March 3rd, but only has a dozen or so public performances, the bulk of the performances being scheduled for aforementioned school groups. As a plus, nearly every public performance has a post-show discussion, allowing the audience to share thoughts and feelings about the show.

Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 West Washington Street. I always find parking at the Circle Centre Mall Garage to be easy and affordable. Tickets may be purchased by visiting the website at irtlive.com or by calling (317) 635-5252.  Ticket prices for those under 18 are very affordable, and this production provides an excellent introduction to the work of the Bard of Avon.

  • Banner artwork by Kyle Ragsdale
  • Photos by Zach Rosing
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