Romeo and Juliet at Yale Rep
Saturday's performance of Romeo and Juliet by the Yale Repertory Theatre was my introduction to Yale's well-known theatre. I knew about Yale Rep's reputation while I was a student here, but I never managed to attend a production. That was a mistake, only realized in retrospect when the offerings of a world-class university are no longer at your disposal.
For those of you that have never heard of Yale Rep, here are some important highlights. The Rep is a professional theatre that produces both new plays as well as interpretations of the classics. It was founded in 1966 by Robert Brustein, then dean of the Yale School of Drama. When it comes to new work, Yale Rep has produced over 100 premiers. Two have won Pulitzer Prizes, four have been nominated finalists, eight have received Tony Awards after transferring to Broadway and more than 40 have received Tony Award nominations. Eleven Yale Rep productions have gone on to Broadway and countless others have been produced at theatres across the country. Yale Rep also received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1991. And, of course, not to mention all of the well-known actors who have performed at Yale Rep, such as Meryl Streep.
So there you have it -- how can I have missed this when I was a student? Although I may have been a fool my first time around, I am happy that many of our law school students are taking advantage of Yale Rep. One of our students, in fact, won a part in Romeo and Juliet and made her Yale Rep debut as part of the cast -- for those who missed it, here's a link to her blog post about the experience.
This production of Romeo and Juliet was a modern take on Shakespeare's classic. The parts of Romeo and Juliet were played by a former and current Yale MFA student, and the set was also designed by a third-year student. Although the fight sequences felt a little staged, and I was not a huge fan of the gorilla costume worn by Romeo, the performances were engaging and a treat.
After Romeo and Juliet finishes its run on April 2, the final production of the 2010-11 season will be the U.S. Premiere of Autumn Sonata by Ingmar Bergman. The 2011-12 season promises to be every bit as exciting as this one with three world premiers -- check it out.