Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

GU stages ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at Magnuson Theater

the Inland Register

(From the Oct. 21, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

Romeo (Taylor Pedroza) does battle Juliet’s cousin Tybalt (Steven Gray) after Tybalt has killed Romeo’s friend Mercutio as Samson (Michael Aiello), Abraham (Kelly Olynyk), and Benvolio (Andrew Garcia) look on during rehearsal for Gonzaga University’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. (IR photo courtesy of Gonzaga University)

Gonzaga University is pleased to announce that its fall production on the last two weekends of October will be one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays, Romeo and Juliet.

Written around 1595, Romeo and Juliet is rooted in the bloody feudal reality of medieval Italy. What makes the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet so heartbreaking is how close it comes to being a comedy. In Romeo, the fires of hatred burn just as brightly as those of love, and what begins as one of Shakespeare’s funniest comedies twists into one of his grimmest tragedies.

Gonzaga’s version offers a traditional setting through a set that brings to mind the Coliseum of Rome and elegant Renaissance costumes designed by Summer Berry, head of Gonzaga’s costume department.

The thrill of clashing swords has made Romeo and Juliet one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays for centuries. To assure audiences of plenty of authentic 16th century swashbuckling and Shakespearean derring-do, Gonzaga brought fight choreographer Adam Critchlow from Los Angeles to Spokane to spend a week training actors to wield weapons ranging from rapiers to wooden buckets and crow bars.

The cast of Romeo and Juliet includes many faces that will be familiar to Gonzaga audiences and some surprises. Juliet is Mary Davies, a junior from southern California, while Romeo is Taylor Pedroza, a sophomore from Mt. Vernon, Wash. Both Davies and Pedroza have appeared in several other Gonzaga productions, as have Jacob Moore (Friar Laurence) and Jennifer Spindler (the Nurse). Romeo’s friend Mercutio is played by senior Geoff Kanick, who recently spent a semester in England at The London Dramatic Academy studying Shakespearean performance, while Steven Gray sets down his basketball and picks up a rapier and dagger to play Juliet’s fiery cousin, Tybalt.

The production is directed by Jesuit Father Kevin Connell, principal of Gonzaga Prep and a frequent director at GU.

Father Connell’s own theatrical career has included performing in over 40 productions of more than 20 of Shakespeare’s plays. He was given a “Drammy” award by Portland’s theater critics for his portrayal of Don John, the villain of Much Ado About Nothing.

Father Connell promises that, even with all the rapiers, tights, and tunics, “This will not be your ninth grade English teacher’s Romeo and Juliet.”

Romeo and Juliet will be performed in the Magnuson Theater of Gonzaga University at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, 23, and 28, and at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30. Matinee performances will be at 2 p.m. on Oct. 23 and 31.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 313-6553 or on the web at Tickets are $8 for GU students; $10 for GU faculty and staff; and $12 for adults. Online ticket sales end after 5 p.m. weekdays, and after noon Saturdays and Sundays. The Magnuson Theatre Box Office, (509) 313-6553, will open 90 minutes before each performance. Organizers encourage people to buy tickets early as performances are expected to sell out.

The performance contains some bawdy humor and is appropriate for patrons aged 13 and older.

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