TTU Backdoor Playhouse presents Shakespeare's R & J

For Tennessee Tech University's 13th Annual Dorothy Printz Pennebaker Memorial Spring Production, the Tech Players will present Shakespeare’s R & J, a modern adaptation by New York’s Joe Calarco.

The performance, which will be at the Backdoor Playhouse at the rear of the university's Jere Whitson Building, will begin at 8 p.m. on April 24, 25, 26, 29, and May 2 and 3. It will begin at 10 p.m. on April 28 and May 1.

" The choice to do R & J was inevitable for the Backdoor Playhouse," said Artistic Director Mark Creter. "Calarco’s script perfectly matches our mission, which is — in part — to present innovative stagings of classic plays."

This modern interpretation is set in the confines of a contemporary Catholic preparatory school and focuses on four young men — with no set, no costume changes and no props — bringing the essence of the classic play to life by sheer theatricality.

" The rigidity of the characters’ lives begins to parallel the lives of the characters in the play," Creter said. "Roles in the family, roles in society and the roles played by men and women soon seem to make all the sense in the world — and then, suddenly, they seem to make no sense at all."

Although they begin by taking turns playing all the parts from the classic, two characters eventually emerge playing Romeo and Juliet exclusively, bringing a whole new dimension to the proceedings and blurring the boundary between the repressive environment of school and the blood-drenched world of Shakespeare’s Venice.

The show features some themes that are suitable for mature audiences only.

Tickets are $6 for general admission and $4 for students and senior citizens. TTU Employee Appreciation Night is April 29, and admission for university personnel will be $3.

The performance is produced by TTU’s English department, in arrangement with Dramatist’s Play Service.

For more information, call the Backdoor Playhouse box office at 372-6595.