Behind the scenes at Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Romeo and Juliet Sneak Peak!

This week we began working on the third installment of Orlando Shakes’ Free Reading Series, in which we host staged readings of classic plays that are completely free to the public!

This year’s reading series, Cross Dress’d Shakespeare, features non-traditional casting in three of Shakespeare’s most-loved classics. Earlier this season, we did an entirely female reading of Julius Caesar, an entirely male reading of Twelfth Night in the winter, and are currently working on an age-reversed reading of Romeo and Juliet.

Cross Dress'd Shakespeare

The whole idea behind this series is to see these plays in a new light, deepen the audience’s appreciation for how the text is crafted, and to share their experience in a “talkback” that follows each reading. The first two readings were well attended by audiences who gave tons of fantastic feedback during the “talkbacks”; and I expect Romeo and Juliet will go just as smoothly.

This reading has the young characters cast with people 45 years and older, while the parents and caregivers are much, much younger. This age-reversed concept adds an amazing twist to a classic love story.

Our director for the reading, John Didonna, says, “When looked at in the standard ages, Romeo and Juliet can seem impetuous in that first love – and that impetuous and impulsive nature (so inherent in their youth) leads to dire circumstances. In this version, however, it is not the beginning blush of first young love, but the longing and need for a final love. That makes it all the more real, and complex, and full of deep yearning as it is forbidden.”

A large number of the Orlando Shakes interns were cast in this reading in the roles of the caregivers, and these roles take on a whole new meaning with the juxtaposition of ages. I have the incredible opportunity to play the Nurse, and am having an amazing time thus far! [to read more about the cast, click here]

The readings only meet for three four-hour rehearsals the week of the reading, so we really have to find the time to do the bulk of our text work on our own. We’ve had rehearsals on Monday and Tuesday, we have one more on Saturday, and the reading is this Sunday—talk about a whirlwind process! It looks like it’s going to be a fantastically interesting event, and it’s 100% free to the public!

Come see it this Sunday, March 13th at 7PM! Who doesn’t love FREE theater?!?!


Meet Kristin Shirilla

Kristin is a recent graduate of Ohio University’s BFA acting program, an Orlando Shakes acting intern for the 2010-2011 season.  Don’t miss her in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM as Mustardseed or in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE as the spoiled Lydia Bennet. Ohio University credits include THE TEMPEST (Miranda), ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA (Octavia, Lepidus, and more) and LOVE’S LABOURS LOST (Moth)

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