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Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet February 23–March 23, 2013 #ChicagoShakes

Verona crumbles as the hatred of two families ignites its streets. Once more swords clash, and the Prince decrees: if Montague or Capulet again disrupts the peace, lives will answer to the law. That night Lord Capulet hosts a great banquet—among his guests the Count Paris, who seeks the hand of Capulet's daughter Juliet. Hearing of the Capulet feast, the young Montagues decide to attend, uninvited and in disguise, accompanied by Lord Montague's son, Romeo. There, Romeo encounters Juliet and, innocent of one another's name and kin, the two fall in love.

The following morning, Friar Laurence consents to secretly perform the rites of marriage. Their vows just spoken, Romeo is confronted in the street by Capulet's nephew Tybalt, enraged by the Montagues' bold intrusion of the night before. But it is Mercutio who takes up Tybalt's challenge and, as Romeo attempts to break the two apart, Mercutio is slain. In blind fury, Romeo turns upon his bride's cousin, murdering him. The Capulets demand the Montague's death; the Prince instead sentences Romeo to banishment. After a wedding night cloaked in secrecy, Romeo parts from Juliet at daybreak. Moments later Lady Capulet seeks out her daughter with news of Juliet's impending wedding day, all arranged between her father and Count Paris. The Nurse advises her charge to forget her husband and to marry Paris. In torment, Juliet turns to the Friar, whose desperate plan he prays will end in Juliet reunited with her Romeo and the families reconciled. But time—and history—are unrelenting, and as Montague and Capulet vow at last to end the killing, it is a peace purchased with their treasures.

Experience all the passion and drama of true love found—and tragically lost—in this 75-minute abridged production. The feverish intensity of youth explodes on CST's stage in a high-energy, entertaining, family-friendly introduction to Shakespeare on Saturday mornings. Following the performance, audience members are welcome to join the cast for a discussion and photo opportunities in the lobby.

Recommended for ages 10 and up.

When: Through March 23

Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave.

Running time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Tickets: $16-$20 at 312-595-5600 and chicagoshakes {dot} com

My Thoughts: I was so happy Romeo and Juliet was to be in production as my son and I had just finished up a unit study on Shakespeare. We were reading Tales from Shakespeare by Charles Lamb which contains 20 abridged tales of Shakespeare's plays. Although my son's favorite story was Hamlet, he was still excited to see Romeo and Juliet. Since we were reading abridged tales, my son was not armed with the full three hour play. The 75-minute play at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Rachel Rockwell would be perfect for his young mind. I brought along my 9 year old daughter and my 6 year old daughter as well. I will quickly add that while my 6 year old didn't follow the play in its entirety, she did enjoy the play and was able to answer questions when we later reviewed Romeo and Juliet at home. This is a fast pace play which is great for children. They don't have the opportunity to say anything except to ask a question about what was just said. My 9 year old duaghter was quite enthralled with the lvoe story of Romeo and Juliet and she was rather touched by the death of these two teenagers. My children luckily have had exposure to Shakespeare. Rockwell's ability to retain Shakespeare's original language greatly enhanced the play.My children and I loved the story and we were able to follow the play with ease, laughing and clearly enjoying themselves. I am hoping Romeo and Juliet will begin their love affair with William Shakespeare. I am of the opinion reading a well summarized version of his plays and then watching a well done performance will make any child appreciate the genius that is Shakespeare's work.

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