Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Night of Love, More or Less, at UNF Show

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Night of Love, More or Less, at UNF Show

Article excerpt

Byline: TANYA PEREZ-BRENNAN, The Times-Union

It was strangely appropriate: There I was, watching Romeo & Juliet, and the couple next to me was getting it on.

This performance of Shakespeare's tragic love story was part of the UNF Fine Arts Center's second season. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater did a one-time performance Monday night as part of the Shakespeare in America's Communities initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Jacksonville was chosen as one of 100 cities across the country to participate.

Anyway, back to that couple -- they couldn't keep their hands off each other. She was a blonde in her late 20s or early 30s; he was a graying 40-something with glasses. It was almost distracting how he kept putting his arm around her and caressing her shoulder, and how they held hands almost throughout the night. A modern Romeo and Juliet perhaps?

That, of course, is what makes this story so enduring. Sure, there are other themes; the deep rivalry and hatred between the Capulets and the Montagues, for instance, or the senseless act of using violence to solve conflicts. But what we're really enthralled by is the story of two young lovers willing to do anything, even kill themselves, to be together. It's tragic, of course, that it is only in death that the two find peace.

For a Monday night, I'd have to say there were quite a few people who ventured out just for love. (OK, so maybe a lot of them were UNF students who had English assignments.)

And this audience was having a good time. During Act I, when Romeo and Juliet meet at the Capulet party, the audience didn't hold back. "Give me my sin again," Romeo gently growled, grabbing Juliet for a second kiss. "Hmm," several people said. And during the balcony scene, when Juliet must tear herself away, Romeo is ready to have a conniption because he cannot contain his teenage hormones, "O wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied? …

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