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Bringing Shakespeare to the street at NWTC

By Donna Schuld

GREEN BAY – A tale of rivalry, romance and highly charged emotions will find an unusual stage in Green Bay.

Four performances of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” will fill the open air of the lot next to NWTC’s Artisan and Business Center as Theatre in the Park, a collaboration from Olde Main Street Inc. and Play-by-Play Theatre returns.

Alissa Cotter, events manager for Downtown Green Bay, Inc., stresses the cautious approach given to the production.

“We are tipping our toe into the water to make sure we are following everything properly, that the community wants it and is interested in attending,” Cotter said. “Live theater is something that brings our whole community together. I think there’s a desire to have this entertainment and to have local performers being a huge part of this.”

Along with NWTC’s Artisan and Business Center, the Art Garage (across the street) will help the production by supplying portable walls for
backdrops on stage.

The site was selected after plans to return to Whitney Park fell through due to nearby construction.

Setting up a live theatrical production is never simple, and Cotter said this year brings even more concerns.

“We’ve been following the CDC guidelines, and with those changing as frequently as they have, that’s probably one of the bigger challenges we face,” she said.

Carolyn Silverberg serves on the board of directors for Play-by-Play Theatre and is play director.

A graduate of St. Norbert College and the University of London, Silverberg said the play’s themes work well in 2021.

“It’s recognizable, but you can still learn some new stuff from it,” she said. “It’s extremely relevant today: prejudice and injustice,
hatred and fighting. How it takes a tragedy, something horrible to happen, for people to actually start paying attention and making that change. But also the year and a half we had to stay away from each other, not being able to be around each other and touch each other, there’s also part of that in ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ too. It’s all about this closeness, whether it’s good or bad, loving, platonic, familial, everyone is coming together and being close and that’s something we haven’t been able to do in quite a while.”

Silverberg said she loves the sense of escapism that comes with live theater.

“It’s 2 hours you don’t have to worry about things – you can just get away and escape,” she said. “With Shakespeare specifically, what I love, because that’s my niche, is you’re entertained and that’s great but it makes you think. You leave feeling like a better person when you come out of the theater, whether it’s something as serious or dark as a Shakespeare tragedy or as lighthearted as a musical, which we also all love. It’s nice to escape and feel great.”

Tickets may be purchased by CLICKING HERE and will be sold at the door, if available.

Performances are at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. June 26 and 27.

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