Trashing Shakespeare

What if Romeo and Juliet lived in a trailer park and the Montagues and the Capulets were — wait a beat — competing meth rings?

Don’t groan: When Paul Cross and his student/teacher improv team from the Yes! Lab put their twist to the traditional tragedy this weekend, it just might work. Their Redneck Romeo and Juliet, touted as a “modern-language adaptation” of the iconic Shakespeare play, is an improvised take on an age-old story. But that’s not to say Cross won’t follow the original script. “I’m keeping the poignant scenes, giving them all their weight,” he says. “Even though it’s a modern-language adaptation, we’re keeping the anchor lines. And the actors still say those lines in a way that your redneck character wouldn’t normally talk.” So for the balcony scene, Romeo says all the right things…while he’s climbing up the ladder to Juliet’s personal RV. Will the audience titter? No doubt. “I’ve always thought of Romeo and Juliet as tragicomedy,” Cross quips.

See Redneck Romeo and Juliet at 7 or 9 p.m. tonight or 2 p.m. tomorrow (because it’s improv, no two performances will be the same) at Denver’s Dangerous Theatre, 2620 West Second Avenue; admission is $10 at the door. For more info, go to
Fri., Jan. 21, 7 & 9 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 22, 2 p.m., 2011

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd