Empirical Rogue (Tim Eliot, Artistic Director), a company comprised of MFA alums of the A.R.T./MXAT Institute at Harvard, will team with chashama to produce a four-actor Romeo and Juliet in a never-before-performed-in abandoned space in Long Island City (26-15 Jackson Ave.) May 19 through June 10, 2012. Tim Eliot will direct the production.
Politics, passion, money, revenge, rebellion, deceit, and ten tons of love provide the powder keg of Empirical Rogue’s inventive take on Romeo and Juliet. The site-specific, immersive production unfolds from the moment audience members step inside the abandoned garage, formerly Moe’s Taxi, in Long Island City.
Four actors – Jacob Martin (Romeo), Susannah Hoffman (Juliet, Mercutio), Sarah Baskin (Nurse, Tybalt, Paris) and Doug Chapman (Friar, Benvolio) – perform all of the roles in the classic play. Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet in such a way that the majority of it can be played with only four actors. Doing so reveals a major structural metaphor: political decisions, like romantic and family decisions, are made by small groups of powerful people, making choices in real time, based on the information they have at hand.
"We have worked hard to understand how the politics and economy of the culture form the background of the love story, driving it headlong off a cliff,” says director Tim Eliot. “We want the audience to feel depths of compassion they only rarely know they have, by seeing how close everyone comes to a better solution at almost every turn in the play."
The production team includes Dante Olivia Smith (production designer), Summer Lee Jack (costumes), Adam Fujita (associate production designer) and Shad Ramsey (fight director). Edward Kyle is the stage manager, and Keri Taylor is the assistant stage manager.
Performances of Romeo and Juliet run May 19 through June 10, Thursday through Sunday at 8:00 pm with no performance on Sunday, May 20 at chashama (26-15 Jackson Ave.; between 44th Dr. and 43rd Ave.; Subway: E, M, 7 and G to Court Square). Advance tickets for Romeo and Juliet are $18 at http://www.brownpapertickets.com or 800-838-3006.