‘Romeo and Juliet’ to light up Merillat Centre stage

Shakespeare’s play given a new spin

HUNTINGTON, IN OCTOBER 15, 1996 --- Huntington College will celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s tragedy, "Romeo and Juliet," with a production on the mainstage of the Merillat Centre for the Arts, November 7-9, at 8 p.m.

The play, written and first produced in the 1590s, tells the story of two star-crossed lovers whose lives get caught up in a tragic conflict between their two feuding families.

The Huntington College production, directed by Joseph Ricke, professor of English, brings the romance, lyricism, violence, and beauty of Shakespeare’s text into a distinctly American setting. By locating the play in the American South immediately following the Civil War, and by drenching the play in the sometimes festive, sometimes sentimental music of the 19th Century American songwriter, Stephen Foster, Ricke and the Huntington College students hope to recreate not simply an experience of the 1590s but to explore the relationship between the values and ideals of the 1590s, the 1860s, and the present day.

Although the play is set in America rather than medieval Italy, the language is almost entirely Shakespeare’s. And although the connection between Shakespeare and Foster may not be an obvious one to some, it is not at all hard to see and hear the connections between such songs as "Beautiful Dreamer," or "Open Thy Lattice Love," and the romantic attitude of a young Romeo of any age or place. The on-going hatred, misunderstanding, and potential violence of the post-Civil War period also proves to be a compelling parallel to the situation of the Montagues and Capulets Shakespeare imagined as being distinctly Italian.

Matthew Webb, a junior theater major from Huntington, Indiana, plays Romeo. Webb has been part of many HC stage productions including The Rainmaker, and has spent two summers performing in Doc Rainbow’s Colorful All-Star Revue. He is the son of William and Sandra Webb of Huntington.

Dawn Gault, a freshman educational ministries major from Perkasie, Pennsylvania, graces the stage as Juliet. This is Gault’s first time in an HC production, but she is no stranger to the stage. During her high school years at Plumstead Christian School, she was involved in such productions as The Taming of the Shrew and Beauty and the Beast. Dawn is the daughter of James and Deborah Gault of Perkasie.

Tickets go on sale to the general public October 21. Tickets cost $5 for adults and students, $4 for senior citizens. Reservations are encouraged. To make reservations or for further information call the HC Theatre box office Monday through Friday from 1-5 p.m., at (260) 356-6000, ext. 2075.

# # #


Heather Barkley
Director of Communications
Joanne Green
Sports Information Director