The Bard is back at the Bucks, and he’s better than ever.
After a break last year from their yearly Shakespeare Under the Stars production, Ten Bucks Theatre company will present “Romeo and Juliet,” at 6 p.m. July 22-24 and 29-31, and at 4 p.m. July 25 and Aug. 1 at Indian Trail Park in Brewer. They’ll also perform at 6 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7 at Fort Knox State Park in Prospect.
“I like to tell people we’re back with a vengeance with ‘Romeo and Juliet’,” said director Julie Lisnet.
“We’re really pleased with the cast and crew we’ve assembled and the way the show is shaping up. It’s so good to be back.”
Last year’s planned productions of both “Richard III” and the comedic parody “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” were canceled after multiple events conspired against the company.
“We auditioned later than usual. Actors get very, very busy very quickly. And [Richard III] has a very large cast. It’s a tough play. It’s very intimidating,” said Lisnet. “At one point, we had cast it with all women, which would have been really interesting. But then we had some folks say, ‘Oh, please, don’t do that.’ It just wasn’t going to work.”
Ten Bucks took a break, opting to forgo the difficult historical tragedy and regroup the following year.
After doing “Macbeth” in 2006, “As You Like It” in 2007 and “Twelfth Night” in 2008, it was time for a tragedy, as Ten Bucks has an unwritten policy of doing two comedies and then a tragedy. Last January, they auditioned “Romeo and Juliet,” which, along with “Hamlet,” is certainly Shakespeare’s most well-known play.
“It’s a funny thing, because through almost half the play, it really is a comedy. It’s very funny,” said Lisnet. “You fall in love with all these people, be they Montague or Capulet. Which is why, when this ancient grudge destroys the young lovers, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. It becomes a tragedy with the lighting of a match.”
The star-crossed lovers are portrayed by longtime Ten Bucks actor Simon Ferland and newcomer Aimee Gerow.
Ferland recently directed shows during the 2008-2009 Maine Masque season at the University of Maine and was in Ten Bucks’ “Twelfth Night,” while Gerow, a recent Ithaca College graduate, appeared in Husson University’s October 2009 production of “West Side Story.”
“She’s originally from Bangor, and she’s just a dream to work with. She’s very talented,” said Lisnet. “She’s leaving to go study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and I told her ‘Why did you do this to me?’ She great, and now she’s leaving us. You should see her while she’s here.”
Rounding out the cast are a number of Ten Bucks Theatre regulars, including Allen Adams as Mercutio, Arthur Morison as Lord Capulet and Katie Toole as the Nurse. The Bangor Daily News’ own Meg Haskell plays Lady Montague. The period costumes are by Ellsworth High School theater director Rebecca Wright, and Chez Cherry designed the set.
Virtually every high school student in the country reads “Romeo and Juliet,” and a number of lines are known whether they’re in context or not. Parting is such sweet sorrow. A plague on both your houses. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet — but whether you’ve heard them in the Franco Zefferelli film, the Baz Luhrmann film, or in an actual theatrical production, you know the whole story.
“The trick is to keep it fresh,” said Lisnet. “Everyone knows the balcony scene, and ‘Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo,’ and all that. Actors hate saying, ‘There’s something rotten in the state of Denmark’ in Hamlet. But you have to make it your own. You have to block that out of your mind. That’s what I tell my actors. Then the story really comes alive.”