All Walks of Life to Present Hip Hop-Themed Adaptation of Romeo and Juliet

AWOL’s theater program, known as Act Up, will celebrate its fifth year with its annual production, titled Choices: The Romeo and Juliet Story. The show will be presented February 4-6, 2010 at the Lucas Theater.

There will be one daytime show – on Feb. 4 at 10am – presented to students of schools from around the region, and two nighttime shows – on Feb. 5-6 at 8pm – open to the general public. The cost of the evening shows will be $5 for youth and $20 for adults. The daytime shows, which will be open to schools only (advance reservations are required), will be $3 per student.

“I’m excited about Romeo and Juliet because Shakespeare’s play is so universal that it can be adapted into any cultural setting or historical period,” says Lakesha Green, the shows Director. “Love is a universal theme and it will help introduce some of these kids to Shakespeare in a way that is much more accessible for them.”

“This years show not only focuses on Shakespeare, which is a part of the Georgia Education Standards, it also has an overarching goal of attempting to encourage youth to make better “Choices” in life through the various themes of Shakespeare’s written work such as love, family values, and consequences.” This complements AWOL’s mission of violence prevention and positive youth development,” says DaVena Jordan, Executive Director.

The goal of the Act Up program is to engage young people in positive, creative activities during evening hours when youth are statistically more likely to get into trouble.

The program teaches them important lessons about theater combined with positive conflict resolution workshops, giving students the opportunity to pursue their talents while showing them ways to promote positive behavior. It costs one tenth as much to keep young active in programs like AWOL’s, designed to keep them out of trouble, then it does to keep young people locked up after they’ve already gotten into trouble with the law.

Entering it’s fifth year, this will be the first year that AWOL’s theater production hasn’t centered directly on hip hop history. The adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, which was written by Theater Program Director, LaKesha Green, will modernize the language of the original, as well as inject a little hip-hop and R&B music and dance into Shakespeare’s classic love story.

In April, during the Savannah Urban Arts Festival, the play will be translated into Spanish and staged a second time.

The show will be done in Spanish and feature dance sequences using salsa, merengue and other Latin dance styles.

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