Shakespeare Kelowna’s production of Romeo & Juliet at Okanagan Villa Estate Winery was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
It was a beautiful July evening and we enjoyed wine from the Vibrant Vine which made it even better. The Villa is set in the hills above Kelowna and the view is amazing as well as the magnificent gardens.
One of the best-known love stories ever written (is it a love story though?), this play has been translated into dozens of languages and has inspired art, song, ballet, opera and film. The challenge in presenting Romeo & Juliet is to breathe new life, freshness and relevance into the production.
“These violent delights have violent endsAnd in their triumph die, like fire and powder,Which, as they kiss, consume. The sweetest honeyIs loathsome in his own deliciousnessAnd in the taste confounds the appetite.Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.”– Friar Lawrence, II,vi
Neal Facey, long time theatre instructor, director and producer has done just that. In his own words, “This production is set in a fictional modern Verona where the Montagues and Capulets are the heads of rival fashion houses. The vibrant looks of haute couture thinly mask the corporate covert wars and rivalry of the fashion world.”
Matt Brown as Romeo brings a strong brooding presence to the character and Sarah Goddard as Juliet brings passion and life to every scene she is in.
“Ah me! How sweet is love itself possessedWhen but love’s shadows are so rich in joy!”– Romeo, V,i
Romeo’s cousin Benvolio (Justin Gaudio) and his loyal friend Mercutio (Alyosha Pushak) display their true devotion to him and also add some comic relief with Mercutio’s pink socks and loud outbursts of devotion.
Fred Way, formerly of MBSS teaching fame, and Bard Brawl co-captain Daniel J. Rowe’s high school drama teacher, was the set designer.
William Shakespeare would have loved this production of Romeo & Juliet, and the story of love, grief and loss, hatred and violence, loyalty and counsel are as fresh today as they were over 400 years ago.
*EDITOR’S NOTE FROM DANIEL: Right on Mr. Way. Right on. Mr. Way was obsessed with Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, and did a production in tribute of it once. Funny story. Facey didn’t watch it telling me, “film is film and theatre is theatre.” Classic drama teacher line.
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