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Romeo and Juliet find new stage in a Soviet factory in Ukraine

Romeo and Juliet find new stage in a Soviet factory in Ukraine
June 4, 2021

(Reuters) - A theatre in Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk has reinvented William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet', staging it in the industrial halls of an old Soviet factory.

Before the performance starts, spectators are given hard hats and a map to navigate through the factory's workshops and on to the theatre's basement.

The audience follows the actors through different locations as the performance unfolds, watching from different angles.

Rostyslav Derzhypilsky, head of Ivano-Frankivsk drama theatre and director of 'Romeo and Juliet', gives Shakespeare's story a modern twist. Instead of the opening scene of a ball at the Capulet's house, Romeo meets Juliet in a nightclub.

Derzhypilsky said he wanted the performance to have a 'post-apocalyptic' feel.

"This location is extremely difficult. But it perfectly fits to illustrate the collision of spirituality, faith and the love of Romeo and Juliet and the world that surrounds them," Derzhypilsky told Reuters.

The iconic balcony kiss between Romeo and Juliet takes place in an industrial watch tower and a fight between Tybalt and Mercutio erupts inside a massive cage.

Young actor Oleh Panas, who plays Romeo, said he was daunted when he saw the improvised factory stage for the first time.

"On one hand, the location swallows the actor, it is hard not to get lost inside this colossal setting," Panas said.

"But on the other hand, (it) adds value to the performance concept and to the actor's emotions. A cold, massive area, stairs – all these elements strengthen an actor's feelings."

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