A Portal to Dreams and Death: Romeo and Juliet

It’s a story so familiar that it is practically part of our DNA. A boy, a girl, and a love that tries to beat the odds. For Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet, director Vanessa Miller will use the play and stage space as a portal for a group of players trapped in a game that races to its final conclusion.

“Shakespeare blurs the line between what is real and what is a dream throughout his plays, questioning his characters’ reality,” said Miller at the first rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet. “When Romeo and Juliet was written, people believed that dreams originated both within and outside of individual consciousness. Dreams might spring from the imagination or from the internal storehouse of memories or grow from the disturbances, fears, or anxieties collected from experiences in the real world. Dreams might reveal the true character of a person and what they most desire.”

For this production of the play, Seattle Shakespeare Company will construct a playing space on the stage of the Cornish Playhouse and will not use the standard seating arrangement. The length of the stage will have audience members on both sides of the playing area watching the game/play unfold.

Miller has added two characters to the production: Fate and Dream played by George Mount and Justin Huertas. The characters will operate outside the game manipulating the action on the stage and serving as game masters. “Both Romeo and Juliet sense that some outside spirit or force is manipulating the course of events,” said Miller. “They address the stars and call out to Fate or Fortune. ‘Oh, I am fortune’s fool!’”

Romeo and Juliet features a cast of 17.  Anastasia Higham and Riley Neldam will play the lovers Romeo and Juliet. Chris Ensweiler will play Friar Laurence, Kathryn Van Meter will play the Nurse, and Trevor Young Marston will play Mercutio. The production will feature live music composed and performed by Justin Huertas.

Tickets to Romeo and Juliet are on sale now.