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Romeo and Juliet survive in modern take on Shakespeare’s classic – Brooklyn Paper

Romeo and Juliet survive in modern take on Shakespeare’s classic

A famous yarn respun: Directors and playrights, Tyler Phillips and Carly Howard are betting you’ll want to know what happened to Romeo and Juliet even if you know what happens to them.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Spoiler alert: in this adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” the star-crossed paramours live to love another day.

Five different playwrights have joined forces to reimagine each act of Shakespeare’s classic love story, converting the famous tragedy into a quintet of 15-minute performances including an interpretive dance show, a romance between two bears, and a finale in which the protagonists live happily ever after in Virginia.

Tyler Phillips, who wrote one of the scenes in the “Five Variations of Romeo and Juliet,” said audiences relate to the themes of love, loyalty, and power in the original play no matter how modern playwrights interpret Shakespeare’s 400-year-old material.

“It’s going to be relatable over the ages because people are always falling in love,” said Tyler, cofounder of Phillstock Entertianment, which is putting on the show with Sparrowtree Theatre Company at Williamsburg’s 17 Frost Theatre of the Arts from May 18 to May 20. “They can come and enjoy a new take on the play because everyone has a good idea of what it’s about.”

This isn’t the first time the bard’s classics have been restaged in Brooklyn with a modern twist: Sparrowtree produced a five-act show loosely based on Hamlet last year.

Phillips’ business partner Lauren Stockner said this year’s show will be even more of a departure from the norm.

“It’s a classic story but you’ve never seen it like this before,” Stockner.

Sparrowtree Theatre Company and Phillstock Entertainment’s “Five Variations of Romeo and Juliet” at 17 Frost Theatre of the Arts [17 Frost St. between Union and Lorimer streets in Williamsburg, (516) 317-3840], May 18–19 at 8 pm, and May 20 at 3 pm and 8 pm. Tickets $15. Visit www.romeoinbrooklyn.com.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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