Harrisburg Shakespeare Company is celebrating its nineteenth year performing in Reservoir Park, and is bringing to the stage the most famous love story ever written, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Performances will be held at the Levitt Pavilion in Reservoir Park, Harrisburg, June 1-2, 6-9, and 13-16 at 7:30 p.m.
This iconic romantic tragedy follows these innocent young lovers as they fall victim to family hatred and cruel destiny. Timeless and deeply moving, Romeo and Juliet forsake their own families and risk everything to be together.
Romeo and Juliet will be directed by local director/stage manager/actor and longtime Gamut affiliate, Karen Ruch. Ruch has worked on over a dozen of HSC’s Free Shakespeare in the Park productions, and has directed HSC’s mainstage productions of The Tempest and Lysistrata.
Ruch has set the production in what she calls “a re-imagined New Orleans in the early 20th Century.”
She continues: “In this place, the Old World and the New World have converged. Social class, religion and ethnicity have blended to varying degrees of success. In this time, new industrial innovation and social change are rocking traditional foundations. Music and mysticism play an important role.”
Ruch gains her inspiration for the production concept from the play’s own setting, “steeped in tradition, but rotting from neglect and stagnation.”
“The ancient conflict between the Capulets and Montagues has taken on a life of its own,” Ruch explained. “The characters on both sides seem to have forgotten the original grudge, and now they just fight to preserve the animosity. They have all defined themselves by their hate of ‘the Other,’ and they have lost any sense of common ground. It is in the midst of all this confusing enmity that Romeo and Juliet meet. The conditioned hatred is forgotten as instinctive and primal emotion takes over. We want to carry hope that their young love will be revolutionary and triumph in its ability to unite the families; however, their love is too tender for this world and their lives too fragile.”