Play: “Romeo & Julia” (Al Bustan Festival)

Irwin Hall Theatre, Beirut campus

As part of the Al Bustan Festival program, the Nature Theatre of Oklahoma group will give two performances of Romeo & Julia at LAU Beirut, at 8:30 p.m. sharp. For campus directions, check out this page.

About the group
Nature Theatre of Oklahoma is a New York-based performance group under the direction of Pavol Liska and Kelly Copper. It has been devoted to making the work we do not know how to make, putting ourselves in impossible situations, and working from out of our own ignorance and unease. They strive to create an unsettling live situation that demands total presence from everyone in the room. They use the readymade material around them, found space, overheard speech, and observed gesture, and through extreme formal manipulation, and superhuman effort. They affect in their work a shift in the perception of everyday reality that extends beyond the site of performance and into the world in which we live.

In the actors’ attempts to retell the stories accurately, mistaken memories and details, half of which are pure fantasy, start to lead a life of their own so that the whole enterprise appears to get completely out of hand. Both performances take us down the slippery path of linear storytelling in which a great creative force is awakened by the error and impossibility of repetition.

About the play
The Nature Theatre of Oklahoma’s version of Romeo and Juliet is the result of several telephone conversations with people who were asked to retell the story from beginning to end in their own words. The play develops through a whole series of twists and turns in the plot as nobody is able to remember the exact ins and outs of the story. Who first fell in love with whom? Was there any sex in it, or not? And who murdered Mercutio?

As the narrators try to talk their way out of their own narrative dead ends by filling in the blind spots with their own versions, this generates a whole range of scenarios. In the end, whole scenes and characters who do not even appear in the original story are discovered or rediscovered.

Whenever memory lets us down, a sort of necessary creativity takes over. The result is a highly personal series of Romeo stories, full of emotions and murmurs of love, desire and the complex nature of self-sacrifice.