On Stage: Synetic Romeo

by Chuck Conconi

Synetic Theater’s silent staging of the Shakespeare classic is a theatrical experience not to be missed. 


Ryan Sellers as Tybalt and Philip Fletcher as Mercutio (Photo by Johnny Shryock)

Romeo and Juliet is one of the most recognizable and frequently staged of Shakespeare’s plays. We know the story: young teenagers, each from one of Verona’s long feuding families – Montagues and Capulets – fall passionately and tragically in love. It is familiar, but not in the way it is staged silently at Synetic Theater.

Under Synetic’s founding director Paata Tsikurishvili, Romeo and Juliet takes on a moody, vibrant atmosphere through captivating movement and dance that effortlessly retells the story without the familiar words. Under the inventive choreography of Irina Tsikurishvili, the young cast moves across the stage with energetic ballet precision. The athletic street fight scenes between the young Montagues and Capulets create a feeling of tension watching the actors move so acrobatically that they could be in physical danger if the choreography wasn’t so carefully controlled.

All the action takes place on a set made up of large moveable gears of a clock, complete with a pendulum. It seems puzzling at first. Designed by Anastasia Simes, it does evoke a feeling of time, the brief time the young lovers have. Konstantine Lortkipanidze’s music and his and Irakli Kavsadze’s sound design, create a dark mood, foretelling the imminent tragedy.

Irina Kavsadze as Juliet and Zana Gankhuyag as Romeo (Photo by Johnny Shryock)

Irina Kavsadze as Juliet and Zana Gankhuyag as Romeo (Photo by Johnny Shryock)

Irina Kavsadze is an inspired choice for Juliet. She is young and beautiful, with the tall, lithe body of the accomplished dancer she is. Her fluid movements with Zana Gankhuyag, her Romeo, make their intense adolescent love all the more understandable. They dance across the stage, locked in a passionate kiss, believing nothing can ever come between them. They are in the throes of an especially sensuous love affair, and that it is doomed, makes it all the more enticing.

Tsikurishvili has created an inspired Rome and Juliet. This interpretation pulsates with sexual energy evident in the sensuous movement of an especially talented cast.

Many people who have never experienced silent Shakespeare find the idea incomprehensible. Shakespeare’s legacy is the magical poetry of his writing. On this year, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death it is comforting to know that while the genius of his words challenge and excite, Synetic’s interpretation is just another manifestation of the bard’s genius. This Romeo and Juliet is a theatrical experience not to be missed.

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