The Southern Shakespeare Company plans to put a twist on Romeo & Juliet next spring by putting race relations at the forefront of the play.
The story of the Montagues and the Capulets will take on a new spin in the spring of 2018. The Southern Shakespeare Company hopes to portray the classic couple of Romeo & Juliet as inter-racial. The company’s Education Director Phil Croton wants this play to start a dialogue about race.
“And we want the children of Tallahassee, our students, and our college students to realize that you do need to discuss these things. You can’t sweep things under the carpet which I think is a problem with race often is that people don’t talk about it and don’t want to confront issues that they may have themselves, or their families have,” said Croton.
With race planned to be at the forefront of the play Artistic Director Lanny Thomas, wants to include experiences from real people in the Tallahassee area.
“I think it’s important that what we’re trying to do is hear from people in Tallahassee and build a story based on those that roughly parallels Romeo and Juliet." said Thomas. "The connection to Romeo and Juliet is not as important as getting real people’s stories.”
Florida A&M University’s Theatre Coach, Chris Berry hopes the play starts a trend in the city.
“I would love to look at Tallahassee as an epi-center of generative art. That it can be a place where the art is reflective of the community rather than it’s just a place where you can see shows as a means of entertainment and lean back. That everyone is an active participant in change and in art, and in the social structure, and political structure of Tallahassee,” said Berry.
The Southern Shakespeare Company is encouraging Tallahassee citizens to share their experiences surrounding race. Those who wish to participate can find out more by emailing the group.