Apr 11, 2021 - Economy & Business

"Romeo y Julieta": Bilingual production offers refreshing take on classic

The Public Theater and WNYC Studios recently debuted a bilingual audio adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" — "Romeo y Julieta" — starring Mexican-born Lupita Nyong’o and Colombian-born Juan Castano.

The Public Theater's audio play and bilingual version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo y Julieta.” Photo: Erick Davila-Courtesy The Public Theater

A new bilingual Shakespeare production offers a refreshing take on a classic, at a time when theater companies are also broadening their casting.

Driving the news: The Public Theater and WNYC Studios recently debuted a bilingual audio adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" — "Romeo y Julieta" — starring Mexican-born Lupita Nyong’o and Colombian-born Juan Castano.

Why it matters: Providing a new approach to canonical works and diversifying who is seen on stage broadens who becomes interested in those texts and their political resonance, and lets those texts be reexamined with greater nuance, scholars say.

What they’re saying: “The number of bilingual people is significant, but there is rarely an offering like this in any cultural space," playwright Ricardo Pérez González told Noticias Telemundo. “This is for those of us who live in between languages, in between cultures; it’s a ‘Romeo y Julieta’ that inhabits that place in the middle."

Go deeper: A racial reckoning in theater

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