Eastern Kentucky University Theatre’s annual Shakespeare in the Ravine program is bringing “Romeo and Juliet” to the Richmond campus this summer. The performances, at 7 p.m. nightly July 19-21 in Van Peursem Amphitheater in the Ravine, will be free to the public.
Directed by EKU Theatre Director Matthew Lewis Johnson and featuring professional artists and technicians working with EKU theatre students, the production promises to be fast and furious.
“We are giving several of our students their first professional experience alongside some of the best actors and technicians in the area,” Johnson said. “Shakespeare’s play is a … comedy that murderously morphs into romantic tragedy. Running about 90 minutes and featuring some of the most beloved and beautiful language in the canon, our show promises a roller coaster romantic tragedy for the whole family.”
For the third annual Shakespeare in the Ravine, EKU Theatre is adding food and beverage trucks to the festivities.
“We doubled our audience with last year’s production of ‘The Tempest’and are happy to have the event grow …,” Johnson said. “The theatre (degree programs) may be going away, but theatre will never leave EKU. We are working hard to ensure that Shakespeare in the Ravine is an annual event with high production values and an expert execution of challenging text.”
A professional theatre artist and company member with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Johnson is excited about his 52nd production of a Shakespeare play.
“This production is deeply resonant of our current political climate,” Johnson said. “We have a gender-generational divide in our casting that speaks to the passion of the young and the intractability of entrenched power, and, of course, Shakespeare’s bawdy humor and his portrait of delirious young love.”
The show will move to Gifford Theatre in the adjacent Campbell Building in the event of rain. For more details, visit www.ekutheatre.com.