Shakespeare classic performed in 1-hour
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“Parting is such sweet sorrow.”
Especially when you’re leaving Owl’s Head Park after getting a taste of Shakespeare!
The Bay Ridge-based theater company brooklynONE Productions presented a shortened version of “Romeo and Juliet” on the Owl’s Head Park Overlook on Saturday afternoon, drawing a crowd of devoted Shakespeare fans as well as those who haven’t gone near the Bard’s work since college.
“This cast has worked really hard on this fantastic production of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’” Anthony Marino, co-founder and artistic director of brooklynONE Productions, told the audience before the play began, promising them they were about to see something special.
The company’s one-hour version of the Shakespearean tragedy of young love was performed on a walkway near a forest. The actors entered the “stage” by emerging from the forest, giving the play a magical feel.
“We made it an hour because we wanted to make it accessible and we wanted to have multiple showings. We condensed it down, but you still get the whole story. You get the full experience,” Marino told the Brooklyn Eagle last week.
Directed by Gianna Cioffi, this bucolic version of “Romeo and Juliet” was presented three times in one day at the park; at noon, 2:45 p.m. and again at 6 p.m., as part of brooklynONE’s Shakespeare in the Park Festival.
Director Cioffi employed several imaginative touches to the outdoor play. A swing set served as Juliet’s balcony, for example. And in another modern twist to an old classic, Romeo, played by Glen Provost, and Juliet, portrayed by Amy Frey, both wore red sneakers.
Here are the members of the talented cast: Charles Baker (Lord Capulet), Jolee Cohen (Benvolio), Mary DeCarlo (Lady Capulet), Nick Easton (Greg/Servant), Kate Fallon (Friar Lawrence), Amy Frey (Juliet), Jo'Lisa Jones (Nurse/Prince), Shea Kelly (Mercutio), Glen Provost (Romeo), Anthony Noto (Tybalt) and Michael Witkes (Paris).
In addition to Cioffi, the production crew members were: Dylan Kaye (Stage Manager), Martin Boersma (fight choreography), Anthony Marino (Artistic Director), Arlene Keating (Production Coordinator) and Denise Kaye (Production Coordinator).
“We had over 250 people come through out the day to the festival, easily doubling the amount of people we had from last year! It was a total success and we are thrilled about the positive response we received!” Marino told the Eagle in an email on Monday.
As an added treat, another theater company, Underling Productions, was also in Owl’s Head Park that day, performing “Robin Hood” at 4:30 p.m.
In between all of the shows, the Brooklyn Bards performed in concert.
The festival was presented with help from a grant from Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst).
More information on brooklynONE Productions can be found at www.brooklynONE.org.