July 19--NAVASOTA -- What could be better than a romantic tale performed under the wide Texas skies, especially when there is no charge for admission? That's what audiences will experience Friday and Saturday when Navasota Theatre Alliance presents two performances of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers, on the grounds of Navasota City Hall.
Admission is free, and the performances start at 6:30 p.m. Audience members are invited to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.
Set in Verona, Italy, the play tells of two feuding families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Romeo, a Montague, falls passionately in love with Juliet, a Capulet. Eventually, the two families reconcile, but only after the tragic deaths of the two younger lovers. With Hamlet, it is the most produced of Shakespeare's plays.
Romeo and Juliet has been adapted by Tim Wright and is directed by Michelle LaRose, who helped adapt the play. She said, "Mostly because of the heat, we shortened the original play by an hour."
LaRose said this is the theater's first Shakespeare production, adding, "A traveling Shakespeare troupe has been a dream at Navasota Theatre Alliances for many years. This year, with the help of the city of Navasota, that dream is becoming a reality."
"We wanted to showcase the beautiful balcony at City Hall, so we choose Romeo and Juliet for our first production," she added.
LaRose said cast members range in age from 9 to 81 and include Eric Schwerdtfeger, who is also the assistant director, as Romeo. He is originally from the Austin area and was active in his high school drama program. He is also a student at Texas A&M University.
Anna Hale is playing Juliet. She is a home-schooled eighth-grader from Wellborn. She has appeared on the stage of Navasota Theatre Alliance numerous times, as well as The Theatre Company in Bryan.
LaRose began directing home-schooled children's productions of Shakespeare beginning with A MidSummer Night's Dream in 2006. Since then, her troupe has performed four times at the Renaissance Festival. She also directed a farce on Romeo and Juliet entitled An Evening of Culture in 2010 on the stage at Navasota Theatre Alliance.
Music will be provided by the Brazos Valley Quartet. Fight scenes were choreographed by Leraldo Anzaldua of the Houston Shakespeare Festival.
Navasota's City Hall is located at 202 E. McAlpine St.
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