London's Chris Hayes directs Grand Valley's 'Romeo & Juliet'
Posted on September 21, 2009
Performances are scheduled October 2-11, at
Hayes has enjoyed an international career as a theatre director for more than 40 years and has more than 200 productions to his credit. He directed the
“It is easier to work with American actors learning the language of Shakespeare than with English actors learning how to loosen up their stiff bodies,” he said.
In August, Hayes came to campus for auditions and workshops with
“It’s akin to singing a musical. You don't use your every day voice; you sound the words in a different sort of way,” he said. “You have to do the same with any theatre, but especially Shakespeare, and to do it in a way that seems natural.”
Hayes said he doesn’t get overly technical, but draws students’ awareness to Shakespeare’s choice of words and how their very sound carries the hardness or softness of the scene. “The audience isn’t aware of it, if it’s done well. It is just one of the many subliminal messages the actors send out – the way they physically embody the words. In a good production it all melds together, and with the set design and lighting, into a seamless whole,” he said.
Though not a modern adaptation, this production of Romeo and Juliet resonates with today’s audience as a play about a society at war, a couple in love, and the affect they have on the war and the war has on them.
The set was designed with Hayes and John Despres, over a period of three months, via Internet discussions on Skype, since Despres was in
All actors in this production are
Tickets, from $6-14, are now available. For more information about performances, tickets, or additional Grand Valley Shakespeare Festival events, call (616) 331-3066, or visit www.gvsu.edu/shakes. Other Shakespeare Festival events include a conference with keynote address by Curt Tofteland, a screening of the film, “Shakespeare Behind Bars,” a Renaissance Faire, and more.