On Stage

Shakespeare – in Spanish – in the Park

Trinity Rep and Rhode Island Latino Arts partner for a series of free, bilingual productions of Romeo and Juliet

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This month, Trinity Repertory Company, in partnership with Rhode Island Latino Arts, will be bringing a bilingual English-Spanish production of Shakespeare en el Verano: Romeo and Juliet to locations around Providence. Having worked on last year’s production as well, Tyler Dobrowsky, co-director of Romeo and Juliet and associate art director at Trinity Rep, is excited to once again be partnering with Marta Martinez at Rhode Island Latino Arts and to be co-directing with Marcel Mascaro. The script, translated by Franklin Diaz and edited by Marcel, uses contemporary Spanish, which Marcel says makes it more accessible to Spanish speaking audiences and helps to “unearth the real human problems that exist in Shakespeare’s writing.” The familiarity of the story will make the production fun for monolingual and bilingual speakers alike as they lean forward in their seats to see iconic scenes performed in both Spanish and English. Tyler says “even monolingual speakers will be able to track the story through the physical life of the play”. The production is free, reflecting a belief in art as a public good. “Great art belongs to everyone regardless of language, economic standing, religion,” Tyler says. The goal is to make theater accessible to people of all backgrounds and to make art a live part of the community.

The directors have encouraged the actors to think about what it means when characters switch languages and how it adds another dimension to their interactions on stage. Orlando Hernández who plays Romeo says that switching languages expresses the shades of consciousness and psychological intricacies of the characters. Both María Gabriela Rosado Gonzalez, who plays Juliet, and Orlando say that the the expression of dual identities hits close to home, and allows for a deeper connection to the characters. They both showed an excitement and passion for the production which will be brought forth in their performances. María says that acting in both Spanish and English makes it more “relatable, accessible and approachable”. In other words, this is not the stuffy Shakespeare you slept through in high school.

Taking a well-known story and putting it into a new context creates a kind of theater that will be accessible and intriguing to all audiences. Marcel says that it is not about opposing forces but rather, “It's more like two parallel forces coming together like two magnets at odds. When they come together there has to be some kind of reaction, like a big bang, and from that peace and order are restored. It’s essentially about chaos.”

The actors and directors have not only been able to translate some of the most beautiful words in the English language into Spanish, but into a modern context with new meaning. Marcel and María both noted the comedy and playfulness which is brought forth in the Spanish. It translates the piece into a modern context and they are able to confront issues of assimilation and identity through the character’s pressures to speak a certain language. For Orlando, it has opened up the play to questions of language and power and how we use the two together. María says that in revisiting this story through a new context it has become more personal. “It’s Shakespeare, but it's also mine,” she says.

Shakespeare en el Verano: Romeo and Juliet performance schedule

Friday, July 7 at Jenks Park, Central Falls at 7pm
Saturday, July 8 at WaterFire Providence at 6:30pm
Friday, July 14 at South Providence Library at 7pm
Sunday, July 16 at the Steel Yard at 7pm
Thursday, July 20 at Temple to Music, Roger Williams Park at 7pm
Saturday, July 22 at WaterFire Providence at 6pm
Sunday, July 23 at the Southside Cultural Center at 7pm
Thursday, July 27 at the Armory Farmer’s Market at 7pm
Monday, July 31 at Mixed Magic Theater at 7pm