Young Love: Romeo & Juliet by HITS Theatre

The HITS Theatre production of Romeo & Juliet, currently running through Saturday, may be the only Houston performance of the Shakespeare classic this season where the cast is the same age as the characters. Director Matt Hune says that working with a young cast opened his eyes to new aspects of the play.

"I've seen Romeo & Juliet done a lot and I've worked on a couple of professional productions myself," Hune tells us. "I never knew why Romeo and Juliet killed themselves, I couldn't really justify it. Working with these young actors has shown a new light on the story for me. This production is very raw and truthful."

The company had less than three weeks to mount the show. There were five hours of rehearsals every evening with most students getting together to work on their own in the afternoons.

"My approach with the students was to really tear it all down to the language, to really have the actors experience Shakespeare's words. I wanted them to see how the language affected them as opposed to 'acting' Shakespeare. They're really making personal connections to the text."

Hune says the one-and-a-half hour long show is not an abbreviated version of Shakespeare's play. "There have been some cuts to the script, of course, but the story is complete."

Juliet is a soon-to-be senior Emily De Forest, who lives in Fulshear. Romeo is David Friedrich, who will be going to college in Nebraska in the fall.

See HITS Theatre's Romeo & Juliet at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday at HITS, 311 West 18th Street. For information, visit the theater's website or call 713-861-7408. $5 to $15.

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Olivia Flores Alvarez