Onstage chemistry ignites classic tale

courtesey Adriana Gomez
courtesey Adriana Gomez

With a Juliet who holds a sword in hand, a Romeo who cannot seem to keep his hands to himself and a sword fight between the two as they declare their love on the balcony, Shakespeare Miami’s rendition of “Romeo and Juliet” is a great sensation. With the new location in the remarkably Globe-like Shell Lumber hardware store, the play is only made better.

Producing artistic director of Shakespeare Miami Colleen Stovall wanted to find the strength in the character Juliet, creating a woman who could sword fight and, as Stovall explained in the play’s pamphlet, “dreamed of running off to war, or to defend the honor of her family against the mortal enemies, the Montague’s.” Throughout most of the play, Juliet walks around with a sword in hand and at one point challenges Romeo in a fight that ends in a kiss between the two. Stovall’s inspiration? “Juliet’s bossy. She spends most of the play telling Romeo what to do; he’s like a puppy. The poetry was always there as the framework, it seemed interesting to play with it a little bit,”
Romeo, played by 22-year-old Nick Lamedica from Marymount Manhattan College’s BFA acting and musical theater program, and Juliet, played by 28-year-old Australian-born actress Bree-Anna Obst, displayed a great sense of chemistry. The pair convinces the audience of their attraction for one another and creates a very seductive and enticing element to the interaction between the two characters.
“I talked to a lot of kids about their first kiss,” Stovall said. “I used their stories and tried to incorporate it into the scene on the balcony. I tried to make it more honest to them being teenagers.”
The play, lasting a total of two hours and 30 minutes without intermission, kept the audience attentive and entertained the entire time.
The simple stage, set with just a balcony and nestled between floor to ceiling shelves of Shell Lumber’s wares, allows the audience to focus on the physical comedy and interaction between the cast.
“Until people start dying, it’s a very funny play,” Stovall said. “I wanted people to really get the jokes that really come down to physical humor.”
Shakespeare Miami’s “Romeo and Juliet” is scheduled to play Friday through Sunday at 8 p.m; a matinee 2 p.m. showing is available on Sunday. The play takes place at the Shell Lumber Stage, located off of U.S. 1 and 27 avenue. Admission is free.

Edyna Garcia may be contacted at egarcia@themiamihurricane.com