Image by Sophie El-Assaad

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Repercussion Theatre announces its 2018 Shakespeare-in-the-Park selection, Romeo and Juliet, which will tour Montreal and area parks from July 5th to August 8th, 2018. To commemorate the company’s 30th anniversary, two additional and very special events will also be held in the fall.
“Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful, tragic tale of young people galloping full speed towards love, in a world calcified by hate. That feels pretty necessary right now”, said Repercussion Artistic Director, Amanda Kellock. And in this production, Romeo and Juliet will not be a heterosexual couple. The company’s aim has always been to ‘hold a mirror up to nature’, to use classical theatre to reflect contemporary life and encourage dialogue. “We’re reimagining Romeo and Juliet through an expanded, more inclusive lens in order to celebrate our collective diversity and affirm that love is love is love.” After the company’s 2016 all-female Julius Caesar and given their ongoing commitment to cultural diversity and gender parity, Shakespeare-in-the-Park fans are assured of another unique Repercussion/Kellock treatment of this classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
Assisted by Shanti Gonzales, Ms. Kellock will direct ten dynamic performers, each of whom will assume multiple roles. Ana Cappelluto (herself a descendant of the Capulets!) will design the set and lighting, Sophie El-Assaad the costumes, and Gitanjali Jain will be the Voice and Soundscape Coach for the live music portions of the production.
To mark Repercussion’s three-decade milestone, two new Shakespeare-inspired plays were commissioned, in collaboration with Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal. Public readings of the two plays will be in November 2018, (exact dates and location TBD) and in customary Repercussion accessibility style, tickets will be available on a Pay-What-You-Decide basis.
Erin Shields, who won the Governor General’s Award for If We Were Birds, is currently working on her play, Thy Woman’s Weeds, exploring how women in theatre navigate their relationship with Shakespeare. Ms. Shields says,”It’s about the actors, directors, technicians, and designers who create Shakespearean productions and the audiences that come to watch them. The story is driven by a chorus of women asking ‘Why do it? If we do it, how do we do it? How do we deal with the inherent gender discrepancies’? The chorus invokes scenes in different parts of the theatre, during all parts of the production process: a rehearsal hall, a dressing room, in the audience, and in the play itself.”
Musician, playwright, and former Repercussion actor (2010 and 2012), Jeff Ho, and his new play, whisper, is the second commissioned script. It is inspired by his experience of learning English after arriving in Canada at the age of twelve. “My mother quickly put my brother and me into ESL classes; it was a monumental adjustment from life in Hong Kong. To ease the transition, and to the credit of my ESL teacher, he taught us songs, poetry, and urged us to recite passages of Shakespeare’s sonnets, so we could understand the musicality, rhythms and cadences of the English language and appreciate the English tongue through beauty, not memorization.” whisper also employs a chorus, but in the form of a group of immigrants. Hailing from various countries where English is not spoken, they meet in a peer-guided Adult ESL course in Montreal.
Romeo and Juliet details will follow at a public season launch/birthday party in April (date and venue info to follow), and more information about the public play readings will be distributed in the autumn of 2018.