R+J: The Vineyard | Oracle Theatre | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

R+J: The Vineyard Member Picks Free The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Mondays, Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 12 2015

This bilingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, adapted by Janette Bauer and Aaron Sawyer (who also directs), is presented in English and American Sign Language. The setting is 1890s Martha’s Vineyard, once home to a large hereditary deaf population. Turning the Bard on his head and "letting hands do what lips do" makes this coproduction from Oracle and Red Theater Chicago one of the most visceral, relatable, and affecting Shakespeare performances in recent memory. Actors that are hearing, hard of hearing, deaf, and ASL-fluent merge seamlessly across moments of sound and silence, conjuring up an exciting new story form that offers everything from riotous laughter to gut-punching despair. The show’s most powerful pair: Chris Schroeder as witty and defiant Mercutio and Brenda Scott Wlazlo as Benvolio, his fiercely loyal companion. —Marissa Oberlander

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