The Southern California Shakespeare Festival is hosting shows of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” on and off campus.

Shows will be held during the month of September on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The play is directed by Rob Shields, an alumnus of the Cal Poly Pomona theater department.

The Southern California Shakespeare Festival is a professional theater company, and this will be the first time the company will present a production of ‘Romeo and Juliet.’

Samantha Avila (left) as Juliet and Linda Bisesti as Nurse. Courtesy of the Southern California Shakespeare Festival

The classic love story will feature a twist on the tale of the two star-crossed lovers. This time, the play will be about the juxtaposition of love and violence.

Linda Bisesti, the artistic director of the play, said she and others wanted to include violence in the play because “the story took place in a violent society, so we really wanted to highlight that part.

People forget or don’t know that because so many versions of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ only feature the loving side of the story.

We wanted to change that in our telling of the story.”

Bisesti is also responsible for bringing the Southern California Shakespeare Festival to campus.

“I wanted to bring the Southern California Shakespeare Festival to campus because I wanted our students to take part in a Shakespearean play, and to have experience working with professional actors from the Southern California Shakespeare Festival.

The students also get paid to perform in this play, so that’s a good thing for them too,” Bisesti said.

“We hope the audience enjoys the play by experiencing a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ that is different from their past viewings or memories of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ ” Bisesti said.

Last year the Southern California Shakespeare Festival performed Shakespeares’s classic “Comedy of Errors” but set in modern day Venice Beach featuring actors from both Cal Poly Pomona and the Actors Equity Association.

This will be SCSF’s 14th season performing.

More information about the Southern California Shakespeare Festival and the presentation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ can be found on the company’s website or on the Cal Poly Pomona website.

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