Romeo vs. Juliet | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Romeo vs. Juliet Closing (Theater and Galleries) New Review (Theater and Comedy) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 13 2012

Race war in Romeo and Juliet? Interesting notion, but not when the warriors are pirates and ninjas. Pretty/Windy Theatre Company sets Shakespeare’s classic love-suicide play in 18th-century Japan, with actors of Asian descent taking almost all the ninja/Capulet roles. The pirate/Montagues, meanwhile, are played by white actors. Both groups are caricatured, but where the ninjas are all morbidly tetchy, the pirates are allowed to be lusty and somewhat more than one-dimensional. The spectacle of whites and Asians fighting sheds no light on racial stereotypes—or, for that matter, on pirate and ninja ones—and it’s definitely not amusing. In fact, the staging as a whole is overly serious and drags, probably because so much of the Bard’s fun banter has been cut and the actors are always sighing. As usual, Mercutio steals the show; he’s played here by Zack Meyer, who also directed the not unimpressive stage combat. —Asher Klein

Price: $15

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