Diana Wortham Theatre is pleased to announce the highly anticipated return of New York- and London-based Aquila Theatre Company, a Mainstage Series favorite, with a re-imagined and invigorating staging of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Saturday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m.

While the classic tale of two star-crossed lovers is arguably one of the best known of all of The Bard’s plays, Aquila’s striking and moving adaption of Romeo and Juliet takes the viewer’s breath away with a few special twists, thanks to the innovative direction of Artistic Director, Desiree Sanchez. The timeless words and the story remain the same, but instead of focusing purely on the relationship of Juliet and her Romeo, Sanchez highlights the interactions and nuances between Lady Capulet and her rebellious daughter, revealing a severe yet ardent theme of the play.

Rather than let the parental role be split between Juliet’s mother and father, Sanchez is bold enough to eliminate the paternal Capulet character altogether, allowing Lady Capulet, “a perfectly poised ice queen with her weeping heart of fire” (DC Metro Theater Arts), to speak her husband’s lines as well, including the infamously intense altercation between parent and child that ultimately comes to blows. Symbolizing the mother-daughter connection, a 30-foot-long gown links the two ladies as they navigate the treacherous waters of arranged marriages, teenage rebellion, and all that befalls this famous household.

A highly physical performance, the company utilizes costumes reminiscent of ballet, enabling quick, precise movements in scenes of sword fights and confrontation. Taking from the performance style that Shakespeare and his players would normally have adopted for the stage, Sanchez and the crew behind this production have reincorporated the physically challenging elements that often get subdued in modern Shakespearean shows, the energy that would be used to rile up the crowds from the balconies to the standing room by the stage. “We have here a remarkable fusion of design, text, and performance, of consciousness, scenery, sound, light, space, meaning, and movement,” said Sam Hall in a review for DC Metro Theater Arts out of Washington, D.C.

Aquila Theatre company members will lead a pre-performance discussion at 7 p.m. prior to the 8:00 p.m. performance, in The Forum off of the main lobby. Pre-show discussions are free to ticket holders. Seating is limited and offered on a first come, first served basis. We regret that patrons may not be admitted to pre-show discussions after 7:10 p.m.

Aquila Theatre’s Asheville performances are funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Further support is provided by Performance Sponsors Michael & Catty Andry, Dr. Alan & Suzanne Escovitz, and Maureen & Frank Hantke; and by Mainstage Theatre Series Sponsors Bank of America and Merrill Lynch; with additional support provided by Media Sponsors WNC magazine and WCQS 88.1FM.

To obtain more information or to purchase tickets, call the theatre’s box office at (828) 257-4530 or visit www.dwtheatre.com.

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