Tragic touch: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ comes to Carroll Park

Tragic touch: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ comes to Carroll Park
Chris Montgomery

See the star-crossed lovers under the stars!

A new production of “Romeo and Juliet” will bring Shakespeare’s tale of romance and violent delights to Carroll Park for three weeks, starting on June 12. The outdoor show from Smith Street Stage will take the story of an epic struggle between the great houses of 16th-century Italy and draw connections to current events, said the show’s director.

“It’s set in a Verona that is much like our government today. If you look at the recent government shut down, for example, it didn’t take long for people to be in dire straits. People were worried about buying food and rationing medicine, but the politicians who created the shutdown are going to be fine,” said Shaun Bennet Fauntleroy. “That’s the Verona we have now. People in the story are not happy with the Capulets and Montagues, because their feud was wrecking the economy.”

Fauntleroy, a longtime member of the Smith Street company, said she was drawn to the story because of its strong female protagonist.

“Its one of the few plays by Shakespeare that is led by a woman. It really is Juliets show. Shes such a wonderful character. She says whats on her mind, and shes very straightforward,” said Fauntleroy. “In some small ways, were trying to highlight Juliets beautiful uniqueness, and how her love with Romeo is so different.”

The director cast actress Katie Willmorth in that leading role, because of her temperamental similarity to the character.

“Katie is very similar to Juliet in that she’s both very cerebral and warm,” she said. “And, she really digs into the language of the character. There are people who like to take apart clocks to see how they work, and Katie is like that with language. If you combine that with her warmth and kindness, she makes for the perfect Juliet.”

Willmorth will star across from Noah Anderson as Romeo in the 15-person, modern-dress production. This is the 10th anniversary of Smith Street Stage’s seasonal productions in Carroll Park, which have been a midsummer night’s dream for the company, said Fauntleroy.

“The park is a great venue, and it’s great because the original Shakespeare plays were performed in the open air,” she said. “We feel like the shows should be accessible to everyone. So, to be able to do these shows for free, and be able to pay the actors, is really like a dream.”

“Romeo and Juliet” in Carroll Park (Carroll Street between Smith and Court streets in Carroll Gardens, www.smithstreetstage.org). June 12–30; Thu–Sun at 7:30 p.m. Free.

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agraham@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.
Star-crossed: Noah Anderson stars as Romeo, opposite Katie Willmorth as Juliet, in the tragic romance opening on June 12 in Carroll Park.
Chris Montgomery