"Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife..."
The Italian city of Verona is plagued with violence in the streets. The Capulets and the Montagues, two powerful and wealthy houses, have let their rivalry erupt into all-out war. Yet when young Montague heir Romeo sneaks into a Capulet celebration to disrupt it from within, he meets the Capulets' daughter Juliet. The two begin their love affair, doomed from the start, but beautiful enough to transcend fate.
Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers are brought to life in this full-cast production with sound effects and a musical score. Based on a performance at the 2012 Oregon Shakespeare Festival, this adaptation of the classic play is set in California in the 1840s. It skillfully blends regional accents and expressions into the script, making the dialogue suit the setting. The ensemble cast delivers an expert performance, ably capturing characters and their moods and intentions with nothing but shifts in tone, emphasis, and cadence. Still more impressive, the actors deliver lines in ways that make their meanings clear to listeners even those who have trouble understanding Shakespeare.