Local News

Creative Actors Reinvent Shakespeare Classic

Posted May 2, 2003

— Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most popular plays. But how does it translate into Spanish? Some creative actors in Durham will find out Friday night after reinventing a classic.

Deep in a west Durham neighborhood, the sounds of Shakespeare are coming to life. Someone shouts: "Senorita."

At the Walltown Children's Theater, Romeo and Juliet has taken on a distinct Hispanic flavor.

The classic has now become Romeo and Julieta. Here's the famous phrase: "Oh, Romeo. Oh, Romeo. Por Que Tu, Romeo?"

Translating the Shakespearean play was tedious. But director Joe Henderson believes it's important to stretch the imagination.

"One thing; these plays have always remained constant," Henderson said. "They've always been masterpieces. They've always spoken to the human condition. So, if you're saying it's a masterpiece, what you're sayig is that there's something in it for everyone."

The play will be held Friday night at 7:30 at Reynolds Theater on the Duke campus.

Anna Ponce, who moved to Durham from Venezuela four years ago, relishes the chance to express herself in her native language.

"This is a great opportunity for Spanish people," said Ponce, who plays Lady Capulet. "And for the youth."

Max Kaufman, who plays Mercurio, started taking Spanish lessons four years ago. The words, "Y Si, Pario," seem to flow almost effortlessly off his tongue.

"It's given me a broader vocabulary," Kaufman said, "taught me stuff I didn't know before."

The uniqueness of the play isn't lost on the 13-year old.

"Most people, when they hear that I'm doing Shakespeare in Spanish, they're like: 'what?'," he said.

Shakespeare asked: "What's in a name?" The question today is: What's in a language?

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