Hyde Park Community Players take on Shakespeare

Staff Writer

The Hyde Park Community Players will mark their fifth anniversary with a production of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

This is among the players’ biggest casts, with more than 30 cast members, staging a production of “Romeo and Juliet” over three weekends in April.

The players are once again collaborating with the Classical Entertainment Society, a student-led organization through the University of Chicago.

The production takes a fairly straightforward approach to a classic play that in recent years has seen many modern or off-beat interpretations.

Rather than focusing on the feud between the two families, the HPCP will highlight, using costuming and staging, the divide between generations.

Younger characters, including the star-crossed lovers at the center of the play, will be dressed in clothing reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance. Older characters, including parents and family members, will be dressed in clothing suggesting a Medieval period.

“We had a desire to put it relatively close to the period it was set,” said costume designer Mary McCarthy. “But not super literally.”

Director Paul Baker said HPCP is finally ready to tackle Shakespeare, after several dramatic plays and a fair amount of comedies.

Eric Shoemaker, a fourth year student at the university, has worked to choreograph the sword fighting scenes, especially difficult with a cast of more than 30 people.

“Romeo and Juliet” will be presented over three weekends in two venues.

All shows on Friday and Saturday will be performed at 7:30 p.m. and on Sundays shows will be at 3 p.m.

The first shows will be at the Experimental Station, 6100 S. Blackstone Ave., on April 11 through April 13.

The remaining shows will be at Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St., on April 19 and April 20 and April 26 and April 27.

Tickets can be purchased at What the Traveler Saw, 1508 E. 55th St., or at hydeparkcommunityplayers.org.