As of March 5, the Kickstarter for my Romeo and Juliet project is live! Please, go to https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/324288631/romeo-and-juliet-1 and contribute!
West Philadelphia’s Curio Theater began its 2013-14 season with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Since the season was oriented on issues of gender, many of the roles in the play were switched from men to women.
Juliet’s only parent was her mother, Lady Montague. Tybalt was a very different kind of character. And the play was now about a lesbian romance between Juliet and a woman named Romeo.
But there was controversy. Philadelphia magazine’s online article about the production attracted over 1200 responses. People around the country objected to the production’s gay content. They objected to the play being staged in a Methodist church. Some of them objected to doing Shakespeare in modern dress. And there were threats of violence made against Curio Theatre.
Within a few weeks, the story went national on the Drudge Report and Free Republic.com. The New York Times did a special article about the production artwork, including the striking poster by renowned photographer Kyle Cassidy (Armed America, War Paint, Who Killed Amanda Palmer?).
A lot of people did not want you to see this play. But a lot more people supported the production. They felt the play was very important, and that the approach spoke to them. People who couldn’t come to Philadelphia to see the play wrote in asking about tours. So I decided that this play needed to be preserved and shared with a wider audience.
My name is Brian Siano, and I’m a video director and producer based in Philadelphia. I’ve been doing work with Curio for the past few years, and this is a Kickstarter to fund a DVD version of Curio Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet.
I organized a camera crew and a sound engineer, and we captured a performance with seven cameras. Now it’s time to turn all of that video into a professional quality DVD package for people who wouldn’t be able to see this performance otherwise.
Over the past ten years, Curio Theater’s productions have been among the best in the Philadelphia theater. They’ve produced versions of Twelfth Night, Equus, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Slaughterhouse-Five. They’ve performed adaptations of Great Expectations and The Iliad, and created original plays such as Madville by Paul Kuhn.
Our first goal will pay for the post-production work, like editing, sound mixing, and manufacturing the DVDs. We want to get the DVDs out to supporters by mid-May of 2014. We’re also planning for two stretch goals. If we can raise a thousand dollars above our first goal, we can pay the actors and technicians extra for being involved in the production: they did a lot of hard work on the play, and if the video takes off, they deserve a reward. If we can raise a thousand dollars above that, we can create a documentary about the production, and interview the creators about the play, the controversy, and more. (Or we can do a second bonus.)
So that’s the project. You get a DVD of a terrific production of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. You contribute to Philadelphia theater, by encouraging productions such as these, and by encouraging the creation of video versions of these plays. So please contribute, and spread the word so we can provide a lot of talented people with a bonus for being part of this. Thank you.