About The R&J Project
William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is the tragic love story of "two star-crossed lovers" who come together despite their families' long-term feud. Theatre Fairfield's production will keep the original text but set it in a contemporary context. Our director Barbra Berlovitz's goal is to create a project that is "uniquely our own" and will be meaningful to the students involved and to our audiences.
Barbra Berlovitz as The Mayor, from Government Inspector, Theatre de la Jeune Lune '97. Photo by Michal Daniel.
Theatre de la Jeune Lune
Theatre de la Jeune Lune was founded in France in 1978 and moved to Minneapolis in 1985. It has presented over 100 productions, all unique and elaborate in form, from classics such as Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet to plays of their own invention such as Fish Tank. In 2005, the company was awarded the TONY for Outstanding Regional Theatre. This award, which was instituted in 1976, honors a regional theatre company that has displayed a continuous level of artistic achievement contributing to the growth of theatre nationally. Unfortunately, Jeune Lune ceased operation in July 2008 due to a budget deficit, but its affiliated artists are finding success through other projects all over the world.
Barbra Berlovitz bases a great deal of her acting training on the work of Jacques Lecoq, and Fairfield students will employ this style in their performances. Jacques Lecoq (1921-1999), born in Paris, France, was one of the most respected actor trainers in the world. His school opened in Paris in December 1956 to teach mime work and masks but quickly expanded into physical actor training, improvisation, and clown work. Lecoq's methodology concentrates on three important skills every actor should have: the abilities to observe, to improvise, and to analyze. Berlovitz uses these skills in her acting and directing. She feels improvisation is important in finding a character's "raw emotion." For more information please see: "The Mime of Jacques Lecoq" by Bari Rolfe.
Barbra Berlovitz as Sganarelle, from Scapin, Theatre de la Jeune Lune '93. Photo by Michal Daniel.
Patsy Rodenburg is one of the world's foremost speech and vocal training experts for actors. Berlovitz has taken classes with Rodenburg and uses her techniques in actor training as well as in her own performances. Patsy Rodenburg has worked with many noted actors, including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, and Ian McKellen. She has published several books including her most recent, The Second Circle, which discusses ways in which actors can be present and engaged in their performance.
Theatre Architecture and Use of Space
The creative use of space in theatre environments is of primary interest to Barbra Berlovitz, who promises to use the Lawrence A. Wien Experimental (Black Box) Theatre in an exciting, nontraditional way. She recommends reading The Open Circle: Peter Brook's Theatre Environments by Jean-Guy Lecat and Andrew Todd, which offers insight into the ways artists can use space to create a dynamic theatrical environment.