New theatre production asks: What if Romeo and Juliet didn't have to die?

What if everyone put down the daggers, and Romeo and Juliet didn’t have to die?

A new presentation that’s coming to Presentation House Theatre asks that question.

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Montreal’s DynamO Théâtre, one of Canada’s best known circus/theatre companies, is coming back to Metro Vancouver with What If Romeo & Juliet …., running Jan. 25 to 27. It’s a co-production with Presentation House.

The physical theatre performance, which incorporates acrobatics and clowning, reimagines Romeo and Juliet through the poetry of movement, the refinement of the words, and powerful lighting and soundscape.

“Today’s world feels so divided into ‘us’ and ‘them,’ with people quick and ready to disagree with ‘the other,’” said Kim Selody, artistic director of Presentation House Theatre. “In this production, DynamO literally turns one of Shakespeare’s most famous, universal conflicts on its head to explore what might happen if we step back and put down the daggers. It’s an important, timely message, beautifully conveyed through highly skilled physical theatre.”

The youth-friendly adaptation of Romeo and Juliet addresses the play’s concepts of love, hate and fear in a way that’s accessible to and entertaining for young audiences and adults alike – something that’s vital to writer-director Jackie Gosselin.

“In Shakespeare’s play, it took the death of two young people for their adults to realize the blind hate driving them and the need to dismantle it,” said Gosselin. “Everywhere on our planet, young children are victims of our fighting and wars. In this production, I realize that I can’t resolve all these conflicts, but theatre can be an essential tool to stimulate ideas that can bring about positive change.”

The play is performed by Rosalie Dell’Aniello, Marie Fannie Guay, Marc-André Poliquin and Rémy Savard, with Shakespeare’s voice by Christopher Gaze. It's aimed at ages eight and up.

Shows are on at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $28, $23 and $15, on sale now at 604-990-3474 or tickets.phtheatre.org.

Presentation House Theatre is at 333 Chesterfield Ave. in North Vancouver. See www.phtheatre.org for more details.

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