A love story for the ages, "Romeo and Juliet" is one of the world's best-known plays. Thousands of performances are undertaken each year by theater companies around the world.
But the Gary Shakespeare Co. has a unique take on it.
"It is not just a love story, it's a tragedy, so our production focuses on the consequences of the senseless feud between the families," director Morgan McCabe said.
McCabe has a long history in the arts, with multiple degrees and teaching experience in theater, as well as work experience with many companies and groups near and far.
She said Gary provides a unique opportunity for a theater company to tell these classic tales.
"Personally, I love the element of surprise about our endeavor; people weren't expecting a Shakespeare company in Gary," she said. "And they are pleased, delighted and interested in being part of the work, as actors, audience and supporters."
In addition, the company uses the talents of many local actors as well as artists and those interested in theater.
"Several actors live and work in the Miller area and just happened to see our audition notice in the window, and stopped in to read for us," McCabe said. "One of our youngest actors is the 12-year-old brother of the actor playing Romeo (Curtis Lewis). So there is a very strong sense of community."
During the production period of "Romeo and Juliet," the company also has been working to restore its new performance space.
"Not only have they all spent many hours in rehearsal, they have volunteered to hammer, drill, paint, build props and costumes. And kept us from fainting with hunger with homemade casseroles, chicken and crab cakes!" McCabe said.
"We have the privilege of working with several actors already recognized in the region for their talents. We are striving to work as an ensemble so everyone's talents come into play."
This all-hands-on-deck approach has created a very exciting performance for audiences.
"Because our space is so small this is up close and personal theater. Sword play (extremely well choreographed by R&D Choreography of Chicago) is inches away," McCabe said.
All those involved with the Gary Shakespeare Co. are looking forward to sharing their upcoming performances with their audiences.
"Young and old, familiar with Shakespeare or not — we look forward to spending time with many people from the area as we share our work," McCabe said.