Farewell My Friend: The Romance of Romeo and Juliet | Epworth United Methodist Church | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Farewell My Friend: The Romance of Romeo and Juliet Recommended Member Picks The Short List (Theater) Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Oct. 18 2015

The most intriguing aspect of (Re)Discover Theatre's ambitious overhaul of Shakespeare’s indefatigable tale of adolescent star-crossed lovers is its deliberate bifurcation. Audience members get renamed Montague or Capulet as they enter the castlelike Epworth United Methodist Church, then spend 75 minutes following either Romeo or Juliet through various sanctuaries, foyers, offices, and storage rooms. Except for key moments when the lovers’ stories intersect (the balcony scene, natch), their lives unfold independently. Yet here each half story feels complete, and forcibly separating the protagonists' families nicely captures the intractable social divide that stokes the story’s ultimate tragedy. Acoustic challenges garble a lot dialogue, and the psychologically naturalistic acting is often at odds with the self-consciously artificial staging. But it's a promising initial foray into immersive theater. —Justin Hayford

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