January 11, 2017
By Sarah Griego Guz
Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co. director Robert Pickett has taken some creative license with his upcoming production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
“We’ve set it in 1846 Monterey,” he said. “I have lived in California all my life and California history has always been incredibly important to me.
“I’ve already directed ‘Romeo and Juliet’ once. I set it in Italy. It was turn-of-the-century,” he continued. “When I decided to do it again, I knew that I wanted to do it in a different era and even a different location.”
Pickett was inspired to explore the tensions during that era in part by a photography exhibit called Vaquer@ Mexican@. The installation featured work by photographer Beth Pielert and took place at Cafe Society in 2016.
“I asked her why, why Vaquero?” recalled Pickett. “And she said, partly, the impetus for it came when she felt that the Hispanic culture, the Latino culture in the United States was being so disparaged.”
Although the details have not quite been ironed out, Pickett is clear on the era because 1846 was the beginning of the Mexican-American War.
“There are so many different choices here,” said Pickett, referring to the nature of the warring families. “One could be an American family and a Mexican family, or it could be Mestizo and Mexican.
“There’s a couple of other choices I thought about too,” he continued. “I haven’t settled on it yet.”
Regardless of what he decides, Pickett thinks that his play provides an opportunity to showcase Hispanic and Latino talent. He has been recruiting, posting his call for auditions with organizations like Theatre Bay Area and Backstage.
He’s also been publicizing the opportunity on the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Co.’s Facebook page and website as well as in email blasts.
“I’m just encouraging people of Hispanic and Latino heritage to come out,” said Pickett. “And they are.”
To audition for the 2017 production of “Romeo and Juliet,” submit a headshot and resumé to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to HMB Shakespeare, P.O. Box 112, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019.
Auditions are scheduled for Feb. 12. You will be notified of time and place. Prepare a monologue from one of Shakespeare’s tragedies that is no longer than three minutes.
Rehearsals begin July 9 and performances run for four weekends beginning Aug. 18.
All performances are outdoors at John L. Carter Park in Half Moon Bay.
Source: Half Moon Bay Review