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"House of Joy" by Madhuri Shekar, at California Shakespeare Theater in 2019. Pictured: Emma Van Lare and Sango Tajima.

Cal Shakes Will Present Bilingual ‘Romeo and Juliet’

The classics theatre will premiere a Spanish-influenced Shakespeare adaptation by Karen Zacarías.

BERKELEY: California Shakespeare Theater has announced its 2020 season, featuring four productions.

“In this, our election season, we were inspired to lean into some fundamental questions we all face,” said artistic director Eric Ting in a statement. “Can we preserve our democracy in a moment of profound disruption? Will we seek the safety of the familiar, or find strength (and beauty) in our plurality? What do we owe our children? It feels, sometimes, as if crisis compounds upon crisis, that one cruelty is quickly replaced by another. How are we to respond to this? With fear? Or with courage and compassion? And when we do finally reach the end of it, who will we choose to be, whose company will we choose to make, and can we meet that future with joy and hope and fellowship?”

The season will open with Ellen McLaughlin’s The Oresteia (May 27-June 14, 2020), an adaptation of Aeschylus’s tragic tale about the fall of the House of Atreus. Ting will direct.

Following will be a to-be-announced Shakespeare play (July 8-26, 2020), which will be announced at a later date.

Next up will be the world premiere of 1001 Nights (A Retelling) (Aug. 19-Sept. 6, 2020), by Leila Buck and Evren Odcikin. Inspired by the Middle Eastern folk tales of One Thousand and One Nights, the play is a mix of ancient and contemporary reflections that celebrates Middle Eastern and North African women. The play was developed as part of the company’s New Classics Initiative. Odcikin will direct.

The season will close out with the world premiere of Romeo y Juilet (Sept. 23-October 1, 2020), a bilingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s play by Karen Zacarías that places the star-crossed lovers in the world of Latinidad. KJ Sanchez will direct.

Founded in 1974, California Shakespeare Theater’s programming includes productions in an outdoor amphitheater and year-round school and community-based programs.

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