Arlington’s Synetic Theater is currently staging a performance that is one of the best theater productions I have ever seen; London, New York, Paris, Moscow, Los Angeles, Chicago – you name it. And it’s right here in Arlington!
It is a stunning production of Romeo and Juliet, but Romeo and Juliet as you have never experienced it before. It is, as the theater itself describes it, a “unique fusion of movement, music, and drama.” Not a word is spoken, but even the two or three people in the world who are not familiar with Shakespeare’s quintessential love story would have no trouble in following the plot to its tragic end.
The set is dominated by a multitude of clock gears of varying sizes and a huge pendulum that ominously drive the play to its inevitable conclusion. Many of the gears serve as props for the actor-dancers as they turn ominously and inexorably; wheels within wheels.
Romeo and Juliet are exquisitely played by Ben Curis and Courtney Paurosa, who actually look to be roughly the same ages as the characters they are portraying – as does, in fact, the entire cast. With the history of Romeo and Juliet being played by famous and distinguished older actors, we often lose sight of the fact that the real Romeo and Juliet and their friends are teenagers.
All the actors are also exquisite – and very acrobatic – dancers. The scenes of the balls and parties are beautifully staged, while the scenes of the violent battles between the Montagues and Capulets show are incredibly gymnastic as well as remarkably graceful. The love scene between Romeo and Juliet is done behind a huge swath of white fabric with their shadows undulating exquisitely in the throes of passion.
The haunting electronic score was played by the composer, Konstantine Lortkipanidze. He sat on stage, or rather high above it playing an electronic console; much in the style of a disc jockey overlooking a dance floor, driving the action.
This is not the first time that Synetic, under the leadership of director Paata Tsikurishvili and choreographer Irina Tsiurishvili, has recast Shakespeare in this form. Previous productions of Hamlet and Macbeth have received rave reviews. I hope they stage them again.
“Romeo and Juliet” will run through March 8 at the Spectrum Theater in Rosslyn. I suggest that you visit Synetic’s website at www.synetictheater.org for pictures, reviews, and tickets.
And I urge you to see – or, rather, experience – the play as soon as possible. It will be a theatrical experience you will never forget. And it is in Arlington!