Kingsmen finale portrays religious conflict
Romeo is Muslim and Juliet is Christian in productionJune 29, 2012
Daniel Hayek plays Romeo and Rachel Seiferth is Juliet in the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company production.
Photo: Brian Stethem
(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – June 29, 2012) Religious conflict will play a role in the Kingsmen Shakespeare Company’s production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
The 16th season of the Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival will conclude with the second and final play at 8 p.m. July 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and Aug. 3, 4 and 5 in scenic Kingsmen Park at California Lutheran University.
Arguably the world’s most treasured love story, “Romeo and Juliet” tells the story of idealistic young love beset by conflict and hatred. William Shakespeare’s iconic lovers descend from rival clans whose longstanding blood feud turns their tale from lyric romance to violent tragedy.
Kingsmen Shakespeare’s production places this timeless work in a setting that bridges past and present. The show will be set in the late 15th century Spanish city of Granada, an outpost on the frontier of Christendom and Islam. Juliet’s family, the Capulets, will be Christians, and Romeo’s family, the Montagues, will be Muslims. The two faiths in that time and place shared a complex and uneasy coexistence, mingling in the marketplace one day, clashing on the battlefield the next.
The rift between Islam and Christianity predates Shakespeare by several centuries, continues largely unabated today, and promises to linger into the foreseeable future. “Romeo and Juliet” is, among other things, a play about the human consequences of just such a conflict. It’s a tangled relationship whose challenges are as pervasive in today’s global community as they were five centuries ago.
In anticipation of this production, director Brett Elliott has been working with the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group of Southern California, facilitating a series of interfaith workshops between the First Christian Church of North Hollywood and the Islamic Center of Southern California. With participation from members of the Kingsmen company, the groups have spent the past two months exploring the issues that have divided and united the two faiths for the past 500 years.
Daniel Hayek, a passionate actor of Lebanese heritage who trained in England, will play Romeo in his Kingsmen debut. Rachel Seiferth, who has extensive screen credits, will play Juliet. Kingsmen veteran Ross Hellwig, who recently returned from starring in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in Vienna, will play Mercutio.
The Kingsmen Shakespeare Company is the professional theatre company of CLU. In addition to producing one of the area’s most popular outdoor theatrical events, it provides apprentice programs, an educational tour program and theater camps.
Individual tickets are $20; free for those under 18. Box seats, which accommodate six adults, are $75 or $90 and side box seats are $75. For more information or lawn box reservations, call 805-493-3014 or visit kingsmenshakespeare.org. Individual tickets are available at the door.