Do you believe in love at first sight? John MaClay, the director for this year’s Education Tour, does. This belief will inform his direction of Romeo and Juliet, a 75-minute version complete with sets, costumes, music and theatrical lighting. He believes that Shakespeare continues to be the best describer of the truth of humanity, that while society has changed, what we need as human beings hasn’t.

From January to April, the tour (eight actors, stage manager, company manager and technician) will spend 14 weeks on the road visiting schools, community centers and correctional facilities across Utah, Nevada and Arizona with over 65 performances for 120 schools. Nearly 25,000 students, who may otherwise never see a live theatre production, will be educated and entertained.

The play will be set in modern time and dress with a slight Asian influence. The costumes, designed by Christina Leinicke, use color to delineate the alliances: white for neutral, teal for Montagues and gold for Capulets.

The set, designed by Props Director Ben Hohman, centers on a bridge. Symbolically, each side of the bridge represents the feuding families and the love between Romeo and Juliet eventually bridge the gap and connect the Montagues and Capulets. Practically, the bridge is used for the balcony and fight scenes. Because the tour performs in spaces varying in size from the Randall L. Jones Theatre to a 20 X 20 space it needs to be flexible and adjustable.

Right now, the company is in rehearsal. Over the next few months, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from them, both while here in Cedar City and while they’re on the road. We’ll learn what it’s like to unpack and repack the trucks, perform in a variety of spaces, and conduct workshops in Stage Combat, Performing Shakespeare's Text, and Developing Character through Improvisation with students who’ve never seen a Shakespeare play before.

The schedule for the tour will soon be posted on the website http://www.bard.org/education/tour.html. There are a few public performances, including one in Cedar City on January 24, 7:30 pm in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. Tickets are only $5 and are available at the Festival ticket office.