On The Scene: ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ set in 1920s Jazz Age, now playing in Jersey City
A new take on Shakespeare's "Romeo And Juliet" is being performed in Jersey City. In this version produced by professional theater company The Curtain, the classic tragedy is set in the 1920s Jazz Age.
"It was this kind of important inflection point in society where you had a real youth movement," says director Sean Hagerty on his reasoning for choosing to set the play about young love during this period.
It stars Aria Shahghasemi (CW's "Legacies") as Romeo. Italian actress Anita Pomario makes her American stage debut as Juliet.
"I see her as someone who is trying to understand who she is. And when she does and someone tells her that she can't be that, she is brave enough to die for it," says Pomario of her character.
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Shahghasemi has also been diving into character analysis of Romeo.
"I think that's probably a lot of what Romeo is struggling with - of the idea that there's a name he has to maintain and uphold and the name and maintenance is putting pressure on him and not allowing him the freedom that he craves," says Shahghasemi.
The performance with a minimalist set is taking place in a black box space with the audience seated on three sides of the performers. The actors occasionally enter and exit through the audience. It is being staged at Nimbus Arts Center in downtown Jersey City. The play is a collaboration with Nimbus Dance, a modern dance company. Some of its dancers perform in the production.
The Curtain's "Romeo And Juliet" is scheduled to run through Oct. 22.