Monday, July 03, 2006

Hey dere! what light through yonder window breaks?

These hot days is the mad blood stirring
, Benvolio says in Romeo and Juliet, and at Wisconsin's Shakespeare festival the crowd feels it.

American Players Theater uses an open-air theater not far removed from the renaissance-fair mud show stage. The Tribune reviewer missed much of Romeo and Juliet when the play was called on account of rain. ("The kids end up dead, pal. Now, let's all get out of the lightning.") Matinee heat for our performance had us shifting in our naugahyde seats, and after the intermission shifting to shadier seats on the periphery.

These were small discomforts for a well-paced performance with a stage full of characters on edge. Mercutio's frat-party antics reveal an anger-management crisis; Friar Laurence simmers, then boils with the escalating violence. Romeo and Juliet grow up quickly, an arc the actors chart in a rehearsal blog.