Sure, you read it in middle school. Maybe you even saw Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio romp through Baz Luhrmann's postmodern remake of the greatest love story of all. But according to Christina Keefe, the director of the Theater Program at Rice University, the Romeo and Juliet opening today at Rice University might just be the "most exciting Shakespeare" you'll ever see. Performed by Actors from the London Stage, a company founded more than three decades ago by Patrick Stewart (Americans know the British great from Star Trek), this dynamic version is told with only five actors playing all the parts, and without costumes or sets. "We as an audience rely on a lot of spectacle to make things happen for us," says Keefe. "This group says, 'we don't need any spectacle.' The actors literally transform themselves right before your eyes." They cross gender barriers, too. Men play women. Women play boys. And what's even more surprising, according to Keefe, the entire production is "completely driven by the actors. There is no director. They put them into a studio for three weeks and say, 'Okay come out with a show.'" 7:30 p.m. Show runs through February 20. Rice University, 6100 Main. For information, call 713-348-7529 or visit www.arts.rice.edu/. $20.
Feb. 18-20, 7:30 p.m., 2010