The CCRI Players’ March production of “Romeo and Juliet” will transport the audience not to fair Verona in the Renaissance period, but to the height of the swing music era of 1935 in a locale reminiscent of gangland Chicago.
Associate Professor Theodore Clement, director of the CCRI Players’ production, said he chose this era because of the natural parallels between it and the warring families of the original setting.
“The Capulets and the Montagues are two households locked in a bloody feud. The city is besieged with the violence between the two. To me that just screams organized crime and Mafia warfare,” he said.
This shift in setting has allowed for some other unique elements for CCRI audiences to enjoy, including a live swing band that will play throughout the show, enabling transitions, underscoring dramatic moments and serving as a central feature of the Capulets’ ball.
Considering the perpetual popularity of Romeo and Juliet on stage and screen over the years, Clement said, “The great thing about Shakespeare for any audience is how effectively his work reflects real life. He wrote honest characters experiencing life in ways that people understand because they tend to mirror the audience’s own emotional experiences. This is very true of Romeo and Juliet, two teenagers in the throes of passion who lose all sense of practicality and choose love over comfort.”
The play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, March 2 to 4, and at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5, in the Bobby Hackett Theater at the college’s Knight Campus in Warwick.
The student cast includes: Meagan Brown of West Greenwich; Micaela Chille of Middletown; Marie E. De Libero, Julia Egan and Joshua Fonseca of Cranston; Clarence Bernard Donath of Richmond; Carl J. Gerhard of Bristol; Victoria Ezikovich, Trey Hendley and Jerry Middlemiss of Providence; Victoria Jessop of Swansea, Massachusetts; Isaac Larosee and Amber Pouliot of Warwick; Raymond S. Legare of Pawtucket; Tink Moretti of Wyoming; Kayla Renee of Riverside; Katie Russell of Newport; Chelsea Titchenell of Coventry; and Katie Westgate of Rumford. Kat Brown of Providence is the stage manager, assisted by Shoshana Adler of Cranston and Lourdez Mars of Warwick. N. Rachel Ihrig of Coventry is the properties master.
The performance features set design by Luke J. Sutherland; costume design by Marilyn Salvatore; lighting design by Kathy Abernathy, assisted by Jamie Allstrom; sound design by Kaisey Caputo; makeup design by Tabi Baez; and technical direction by Justin Carroll. Jim Beauregard is the fight and dance choreographer and the bandleader is John McKenna. Legare is also serving as assistant director and dramaturge.
Tickets cost $10 for the general public and $8 for students and senior citizens. Telephone reservations may be made by calling 401-825-2219 at any time.