Review: Innovative ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is interactive theater as you’ve never seen it

The Space Between Theatre Company's "Romeo and Juliet" at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education, St. George, Utah, April 27, 2015 | Photo by Kathleen Baber, St. George News

REVIEW – The Space Between Theatre Company, one of the most visionary theater groups to emerge in Southern Utah, carries on Dixie’s long-held tradition of great theater with an innovative and highly energetic rendition of Shakespeare’s beloved “Romeo and Juliet.” The show is being performed April 30-May 9 at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education in St. George.

The Space Between Theatre Company's "Romeo and Juliet" at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education, St. George, Utah, April 27, 2015 | Photo by Kathleen Baber, St. George News
The Space Between Theatre Company’s “Romeo and Juliet” at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education, St. George, Utah, April 27, 2015 | Photo by Kathleen Baber, St. George News

In this modernish version of the old favorite, set in the DiFiore Center’s alluringly picturesque grounds  which double as an outdoor theater-in-the-round (or theater-in-the-oblong, in this case)  you view theater from the inside out, as the audience is immediately pulled into the fast-paced, lively love story and becomes part of the cast, per se. Viewers experience the story from within, being included in the action and the dialogue by being moved, not just by the emotion and energy of the cast, but by literally going with them as they move around the peaceful grounds and through the beautiful rose garden to the different sites of each scene.

The seating is arranged randomly within the set in three different destinations, spilling over into a small grove of trees, and there is never a lag or a dull moment from start to finish.

Being outdoors and free to roam or change seats and/or positions at will, while having the characters right next to you performing and talking with you, at times, about what’s happening or their particular frustrations, gives the illusion of living the whole experience in a dream.

I guarantee you have never experienced a play in quite this way before, and if you are a lover of unique and unusual experiences, this is for you.

Maybe you aren’t exactly sure if you are a Shakespeare fan; well, whether you are or you aren’t, this is a one-of-a-kind production that you don’t want to miss!

It doesn’t take long to become so caught up and emotionally embedded in the drama and the plot that you forget everything else around you, and with this enthusiastic group of thespians, you don’t need to be an expert in Old English to figure out what’s going on. The actors and actresses are so skilled with their body language you could very nearly understand what’s happening without any words at all, and the modern costuming effectively blends cast and audience, giving the feeling that you are attending a garden party with common acquaintances.

The Space Between Theatre Company's "Romeo and Juliet" at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education, St. George, Utah, April 27, 2015 | Photo by Kathleen Baber, St. George News
The Space Between Theatre Company’s “Romeo and Juliet” at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education, St. George, Utah, April 27, 2015 | Photo by Kathleen Baber, St. George News

The homey feeling you have in the pleasant yard and garden, with the protective enclosure created by the large, friendly trees, coupled with the view of the town and points far beyond from atop the heights of North Main Street as the sun is slowly sinking in the Western sky, gives a mystical feeling of being suddenly transported up and away to some distant and enchanting place that is relaxing yet breathtaking at the same time.

Event details

  • What: William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”
  • When: April 30-May 3, May  7-9
  • Where: The Roene B. DiFiore Center for Arts and Education, 307 N. Main St. in St. George
  • Tickets: Adults and nonstudents: $12 presale, $15 at the door; students with ID: $10 presale, $12 at the door | Purchase tickets online or at the door prior to performance
  • Details: The Space Between Theatre Company website | email
  • Note: Not suitable for children under 14 | Seating is limited to 20 audience members per performance due to the intimate space and unique traveling structure of the production.

Review written by Kathleen Baber

Ed. note: Dan Fowlks, an actor in “Romeo and Juliet,” has made freelance contributions to St. George News. A relative of reviewer Kathleen Baber had a minor part in the play’s ensemble cast. There has been, however, no crossover between the reviewer and actors. This review was made on Baber’s own encounter, free of any influence.

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