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Teenage Dreams

Shakespeare really had his shit going on. Long before the age of lightning-scarred teenage wizards and sparkly vampires, dude penned a story of young lovers that solicits more tears than the breakup of Ashton and Demi.

“We cry because of their lost love, their hope to end that it will all be ok, and their belief that a brief moment of happiness is worth everything it takes to get it,” says Southwest Shakespeare artistic director Jared Sakren. The local troupe will present Romeo & Juliet through January 21 at Mesa Arts Center.

The production maintains Shakespeare’s original vision, including the Italian Renaissance setting, opulent costumes, and youthful protagonists. However, the performers cast as the ill-fated lovers (Ali Rose Dachis and Michael Roush) aren’t actually jailbait. “The actors have to appear to be teenagers but must be older to handle the challenges of the language,” Sakren explains. Not surprising, considering that TTYL, holla, and whatever weren’t exactly in The Bard’s vocabulary.

Jan. 5-7, 7:30 p.m.; Jan. 12-14, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 15, 3 p.m.; Jan. 19-21, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 21, 2 p.m., 2012


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