A modernized version of William Shakespeare's most popular play, Romeo and Juliet, opens Jan 22 at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Set in the years following World War II, this adaptation shows explores the racial divide of the era, as the Capulet family becomes an African-American family and the Montagues are a Caucasian family. Due to laws and prejudices of the time, Romeo and Juliet are forbidden from entering into a relationship by their families and society.
From the press release:
The IRT’s production of Romeo and Juliet strives to create a world in which the issues of the play are instantly recognizable – a place where two families might hate each other so much that their children choose to die rather than attempt to bridge the gap. The IRT wanted to create a specifically American production, and in America, race is easily the single most divisive issue.In the IRT’s production of Romeo and Juliet, the Capulet family is African-American, and the Montague family is Caucasian. In order to show this racial divide at its most poignant and volatile, the production is set in the years immediately following World War II.
Romeo takes one look at Juliet and falls in love so completelythat nothing can prevent him from pursuing her. He can’t “look, but don’t touch.” And within minutes, he finds that love reciprocated. Name, family, heritage, tradition cannot stop them. Nor can Jim Crow practice, laws against miscegenation, or hundreds of years of American history of racial separation. Love triumphs, if only for a minute.