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Romeo & Juliet

Romeo & Juliet

What: Bell Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet
Where: Civic Theatre
When: Wednesday June 16, 1999

THE BELL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY'S ROMEO and JULIET opens at the Civic Theatre tonight.

Starring BEN GRAETZ, an Aborigine who graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art last year, as ROMEO and 18-year-old actress and champion gymnast BOJANA NOVAKOVIC, as JULIET, the production comes from JOHN BELL'S desire to do something about the race debate in Australia.

Director WESLEY ENOCH said casting Aboriginal actors as the MONTAGUES, one side of the argument, and white people as the CAPULETS, the tension between two families has a broader kind of reading to it.

'The repercussions of it in terms of what the audience takes away are much clearer, I think,' he said.

'What I'm saying is that no matter what the arguments are, for or against, we are human beings and we have to eventually get on with each other.'

ROMEO and JULIET is ENOCH'S first production of a SHAKESPEARE play.

'When I was at school SHAKESPEARE was kind of a boring thing to do,' ENOCH said.

'Nowadays with film and with theatre you can actually go and experience it and there's something more interesting in experiencing this live than sitting around and trying to read it.'

One thing you may notice when watching the play is that there is a minimal set.

'We're trying to keep it traditional; the Elizabethan theatre was literally four pillars and a little balcony,' ENOCH said.

'But also we're touring 35 different venues in three months and often we have to get the set in within two hours so it has to be very simple and focus very much on what the actors are doing without trying to clog up the space with anything.'

ROMEO and JULIET has four performances at the Civic Theatre.

Bookings on 4929-1977.

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