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New ‘Romeo And Juliet’ Employs Gender-Blind Casting

Pickwick Players and PowPAC partner to bring Shakespeare to North County

Photo caption: Heather Warren is Juliet and Andrea Acuna is Romeo in the gender blind castin...

Photo credit: Adriana Zuniga-Williams

Heather Warren is Juliet and Andrea Acuna is Romeo in the gender blind casting of Pickwick Players and PowPAC's new production of William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."

GUESTS:

Tyler Hewes, 'Romeo and Juliet' director

Beth Accomando, KPBS arts reporter


Transcript

Tyler Hewes loves Shakespeare and wants to find new ways to make the plays accessible to contemporary audiences. For his production of "Romeo and Juliet," he decided to go with gender-blind casting.

Gender swapping has been popular with modern adaptations of Shakespeare. "The Tempest" was adapted to the screen with Helen Mirren turning the male Prospero into Prospera in 2010. The Old Globe Theatre is currently staging "The Tempest" with Kate Burton as their Prospera.

But that's not what Hewes wanted to do with his current production about the Bard's famous star-crossed lovers. He decided to simply open his casting call to anyone so he could simply pick the best performers whether they were male or female, black or white. He said that decision freed him to think about the play and the characters differently.

This production of "Romeo and Juliet" is a collaboration between Hewes' Pickwick Players and PowPAC.

Pickwick Players and PowPAC Present 'Romeo and Juliet'

"Romeo and Juliet" runs weekends through Aug. 5 at PowPAC, Poway's Community Theatre, 13250 Poway Road, Poway. Tickets are available online here.

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