Campus Life

TheatreXtra offers twist on classic

The tragic tale of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is transformed as TheatreXtra raises the curtain on a new season with R & J, An Original Performance Creation.

This remarkable adaptation, brought to life by MFA candidate Sean Guist, plays Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. nightly (with a 2 p.m. matinee Oct. 1) in the David Spinks Theatre.

Featuring original songs and dances, R & J is an engaging exploration of theatricality.

"Our creation is a deconstruction of Shakespeare's timeless romantic tragedy. I was inspired by Gounod's opera and Baz Luhrman's film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, and decided to create and direct my own version for TheatreXtra," says Guist. "While the majority of the text is Shakespeare's, some also comes from Luhrman's film, and some is mine and the cast's creation."

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R & J runs in the David Spinks Theatre from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

Three diverse couples present unique versions of the story: a modern-day Romeo and Juliet who communicate only through movement; a same-sex couple in the Victorian era; and two teenagers in 17th century France.

"The story of Romeo and Juliet has been interpreted in so many ways and across different mediums," Guist says. "R & J is told through each of these very different couples across different time periods. Because this is a creation piece, we get to create how we tell this story. The involvement of the actors is integral to the development of their characters."

Entering the second year of his MFA program with a focus in directing and performance creation, Guist is no stranger to the TheatreXtra stage. He directed The Playground in 2006 as an undergraduate student.

"TheatreXtra is a great opportunity to do theatre that normally isn't produced on a main stage," he says. "It allows students to play and experiment on stage – it's exciting to be involved again."

Tickets for TheatreXtra's premiere production of the season go on sale Sept. 12 at the University Box Office.