Rashad’s Juliet, dressed always in white, takes wing in this atmosphere.All pink and blush, she enters each scene with an exuberance that celebrates Juliet’s budding youth.The production that follows, however, strikes a softer note, easing you into the velvet coils of Shakespeare’s doomed romance with an irrepressible lightness of being.The chaotic opening scene of the dueling Montagues and Capulets, swaggering in contemporary apparel against the ruins of Verona immediately puts you in mind of the clashing aesthetics of Baz Luhrmann’s highly stylized 1996 production of the iconic love story, but the comparisons more or less end there.
But their plan to defy the social mores that divide them are yet again foiled when, after yet another scuffle Romeo’s bestie, Mercutio, is murdered, and in an act of revenge Romeo slays Tybalt, a son of the Capulets and Juliet’s beloved cousin.
After the fray disbands, Orlando Bloom’s Romeo motors on stage, stirring every teen’s rebel-without-a-cause fantasy, atop a black motorcycle.
After bemoaning his current heart’s desire, Rosaline (remember her?
From there all hell breaks loose, and Romeo and Juliet are led to fulfill the obligation of an ill-conceived suicide pact. Well, yes, but in Leveaux’s gentle hands the first act of the play is as wistful and poetic as the white feather that at one point drifts from Juliet’s (death) bed.
The muted, mauve red and plum hues paired with David Weiner’s soft, ethereal lighting transport the viewer into a world of perpetual afterglow.