In anticipation of our Stage2 production of Romeo and Juliet this May, we spoke to director Bryn Boice about bringing this classic story to a new audience with her sci-fi twist.
How do you approach selecting a concept?
I always like to think about my audience. For instance, what is going on in their world right now? What do they find compelling, scary, funny? As I read the play (or reread the play) for the first time, I try to pick up on the scenes that resonate with me in the moment and what might resonate with my audience, and then I start to look for imagery that reminds me of those feelings. When I read Romeo & Juliet again for this process, I started thinking about warring factions and disagreements between people, and I started to think that the circumstances of this play, these disagreements between families, could happen anywhere on earth. Anywhere in the universe! And this led me to think about science fiction.
What connections do you have to the world of sci-fi?
I have been a sci-fi fan since I was really young! I saw “Star Wars” and then “The Empire Strikes Back” in the movie theatre (in their original run!) The fantastical nature of the settings and the dramatic events that I could still relate to–despite being in another universe–really captured my imagination. Soon after that sci-fi was all over TV; I watched the “Battlestar Galactica” series and “Buck Rogers” and “Star Trek”. It was everywhere, and I loved it. You will be able to see these influences all over Romeo & Juliet!
How do you match these sci-fi elements to the characters in the piece?
I noticed that the Capulet family was very rigid and strict, which reminded me of the sci-fi that has a military, fighting element, like in “Dune” or “Battlestar Galactica”. Then I thought about the Jedi in the “Star Wars” universe, who still fight but have peace and flow at their core. I wondered what it might be like to have these two types of people (Structure vs. Flow) inhabit the same planet and try to co-exist. Will this cause conflict? What happens when two of their children, who don’t have as much stake in, or history with, the family feud, meet each other and fall in love?
What are you excited for audiences to see?
I am excited for the students to see that Shakespeare is still strangely modern, and it can transport you anywhere. AND I am excited for audiences to see this great group of emerging artists, our CSC2 company!
Anything else you want the audience to know?
I hope you have fun, and that the show leads to great discussions afterward!
See Bryn’s vision come to life as our CSC2 Company presents Romeo and Juliet, this May at The Strand Theatre!