This week, WGBH News’ Arts Editor Jared Bowen reviews three new plays in the greater Boston area.
“Romeo and Juliet,” presented by the Huntington Theatre Company through March 31.
William Shakespeare’s most iconic love story receives a new staging, complete with throbbing house music, at the Huntington Theatre Company. “Romeo and Juliet” is the classic tale of star-crossed lovers from rival families who pursue their relationship to a tragic end. In this contemporary production, Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois contextualizes the Bard’s verse in a modern setting, drawing a thread between the play’s central conflicts and the sociopolitical issues of today.
“It’s a star-making turn for actor George Hampe playing Romeo,” says Jared. “He offers a most singular and engaging interpretation of the character.”
“Birdy,” presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company through March 17.
Moving beyond the Bard, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company is staging a new stage iteration of William Wharton’s 1979 novel “Birdy.” Adapted by Naomi Wallace and directed by Steven Maler, the play tells the story of Birdy and Al, two young men who form an unlikely friendship before being shipped off to fight in World War II. When the war ends, both men must reckon with the physical and psychological wounds from their service as they attempt to reconnect and heal.
“Director Steven Maler delicately directs a stellar cast that deliver us into the interior lives of two men battered by war but inextricably bound by a purity of friendship,” Jared says.
“Endlings,” presented by the American Repertory Theater through March 17.
The American Repertory Theater launches a world premiere production in “Endlings.” Written by Celine Song and set on the Korean island of Man-Jae, the play tells the story of three elderly female divers — known as haenyeos — who spend their last days diving for seafood. Halfway around the world, a Korean-Canadian playwright wrestles with her identity (artistic and otherwise) as she writes the very play the audience is watching.