last production before Covid
Shakespeare in the Parking Lot presented "Romeo and Juliet," directed by Lukas Raphael, July 11 to 27, 2019 at La Plaza @ The Clemente Parking Lot, 114 Norfolk Street. This popular New York summer institution was then in its 25th year. Its concept--presenting Shakespeare plays with a "poor theater" aesthetic in a working parking lot--is now widely imitated around the US and around the world, with productions as far away as New Zealand. The Drilling Company, Artistic Director Hamilton Clancy, has produced the attraction since 2005.
The play exquisitely demonstrates the futility of partisanship, pleading for similar people to stop killing each other for reasons they no longer remember. Director Lukas Raphael set the play in New York in the early 1990's, with the Montagues and Capulets imagined as families of a Lower East Side neighborhood. In this concept, the Capulets (Juliet's people) are long standing stewards of the neighborhood. Romeo's Montagues, on the other hand, are upwardly mobile, eager to rise above it. Raphael once directed "Romeo and Juliet" in North London as a Tango musical set in Buenos Aires. This time, he saw his job as telling a fast, gritty story clearly and succinctly, stressing its language and incorporating sounds of the street and city to provide the backdrop. Instead of duels with swords, he had knife fights choreographed by Frank Alfano, who staged the fights in an Off-Broadway adaptation of "A Clockwork Orange" in 2015.
The cast included Adam Huff (as Romeo), Anwen Darcy (as Juliet), Alessandro Colla (as Mercutio), Una Clancy (as Nurse), Jake Lesh (as Tybalt, Paris), Kendra Lee Oberhauser (as Lady Capulet) , Jack Sochet (as Capulet), Serena Miller (as The Friar), John Caliendo (as Benvolio) and Samantha Sutliffe (as Gregory, Apothecary, Peter). Set design is by Lukas Raphael. Costume design is by Sofia Piccolo. Fight choreography was by Frank Alfano.
The cast was an ensemble of Drilling Company artists who had been honed through the years in many Parking Lot productions. Anwen Darcy (Juliet) had appeared as Beatrice in "Much Ado About Nothing" in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot in 2016 and stole the show as Mercutio in The Drilling Company's production of "Romeo and Juliet" for Bryant Park Shakespeare in 2015, earning praise from the The Village Voice's Miriam Felton-Dansky for her "strong...punky" performance. Adam Huff (Romeo) had appeared in Shakespeare in the Parking Lot as Bertram in "All's Well That Ends Well" (2016) and Bassanio in "The Merchant of Venice" (2015). Alessandro Colla (Mercutio) had appeared in the Parking Lot in many major roles including Richard the Third, Hamlet, Toby Belch and Duke of Gloucester.
*= member, Actor's Equity Assn.
AND WRITEUPS OF SEASONS