The Wellington Street Theatre Project Presents For One Performance Only: Romeo and Juliet

One Performance Only!

The Wellington Street Theatre Project presents Shakespeare’s most popular play at Sydenham Street United Church for one performance only:

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Tickets are $20/adults. $15/seniors & students. $12/children 12 and under.

Group rates available for eight or more. $10/person.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.bottletreeinc.com and www.wellingtonst.net or at the door.

Romeo and Juliet is Shakespeare’s popular story of young love set against a back drop of gang violence in Italy.  Two families; the Capulets and the Montagues are battling each other for control in the ancient city of Verona. Romeo and Juliet fall in love despite the fact that their families are sworn enemies.  Their secret romance turns the gears of this tragedy of ‘star-crossed lovers.’

Director Charles Robertson says, “Sydenham Street United Church is a great environment to do a classical play.  In many ways it mirrors old European theatres.”  Over the years, Romeo and Juliet has been performed in a multitude of environments, including theatres, parks and bridges.  Robertson went on to say that, “A friend of mine; Lynne Rafter, directed Romeo and Juliet in a former hostel in Toronto as a punk take on the bard’s work.  Many young people write poetry as a way of healing their wounded souls.  Romeo and Juliet rises above other hurting heart tales because the poetry with its rigid rules and rhythms much like a romantic ballad can more easily tug at the emotions.  Prose cannot possibly reach the heights of emotions like poetry can.  In Hannah Smith, who has won 13 awards for acting in her very young career and Alex Whitehead, an accomplished actor who also happens to be the current provincial fencing champion, we have two very talented leads.  These young actors are just the latest in a long line of talented young actors that I have had the pleasure of working with.”

A Wellington Street Theatre Project Production in association with Bottle Tree Productions.

Juliet Blog Tour Q & A With Author Anne Fortier

When HarperCollins Canada asked me to participate in their blog tour for author Anne Fortier and her novel Juliet (that I loved and you can check out my review here!), I was delighted to take part. Each reviewer of Juliet – recently invited by HarperCollins Canada – was invited to be a part of this blog tour and we got to ask Anne Fortier several questions that were burning in our inquiring minds!

1. What was your inspiration for writing JULIET? Are you a big fan of Shakespeare’s play or did the inspiration come from something else?

ANNE: It was actually the city of Siena that inspired me to write a novel set in Tuscany in the Middle Ages. In 2005, I visited Siena with my mother for the first time, and was instantly swept away by this magical place. It wasn’t until Mom and I started looking into Siena history in order to find a juicy setting for my story that we came across the fact that the very first version of the Romeo and Juliet-story was actually set right there, and not in Verona. Obviously, I had to embrace this golden opportunity. The funny thing is that I wasn’t even a great fan of that particular Shakespeare play before I started writing JULIET. But now, of course, I love it.

2. Have you discovered anything interesting and/or exciting about your own ancestry before or after writing JULIET?

ANNE: I don’t think I am descended from anybody even remotely famous, but I certainly do identify with Julie Jacobs when it comes to growing up in a family of many secrets. My grandparents were very much members of the stiff-upper-lip approach to parenting, and so emotions and frustrations were never expressed openly – nor were people’s past ever fully laid open. As a result, Mom and I often – even now – have moments where I cry out, “Really? I never knew that! That’s incredible!” and I don’t think I will ever feel that I fully know my family history.

3. There are several different covers for JULIET and my personal favourite is the Danish cover. Which one is your favourite and why?

ANNE: The Danes were the only ones who actually asked me how I envisioned the cover, and where I worked directly with the designer from start to finish. So, inevitably, the Danish cover is very special to me. That said, the business of cover design and the choices of individual publishers depend so much on their particular market, and their knowledge of what appeals to certain groups of readers, and I completely understand that the Danish cover might not work everywhere. A lot of countries have adopted the American cover with the rose, and I do think it is very beautiful, and that it makes the book stand out.

4. Who would you want to play Juliet in the movie if there was one?

ANNE: I am always reluctant to put specific features on Julie Jacobs, because I know my readers envision her in so many different ways. And this, of course, was what I hoped would happen. Some see her as a blonde, some as a brunette … the truth is that, to me, she actually changed hair-color half-way through the writing process. Originally, she was a sort of Scarlett Johansson ‘esque blonde, but towards the end she had become more of an Anne Hathaway. We shall see what the producer says; by the time the book is made into a film there are probably a dozen new faces in Hollywood, who would all do a good job as Julie. As for the original Giulietta Tolomei, I hope the whole 1340-narrative will be cast with relatively unknown, Italian actors.

5. Your research about Siena for this novel was very thorough. Where will your next novel take place?

ANNE: Once more, we will be going back and forth in time between the present day and a very distant past. The present-day narrative will start in North Africa and travel through some rather remote parts of Europe, while the historical chapters will take place mostly in the Mediterranean region during the Bronze Age. It is hard for me to say too much right now without giving away the plot, but I promise there will be another unusual treasure hunt as well as many legendary characters, both good and evil.

[And finally, the question I MOST wanted to know the answer to!]

6. Why did you choose to basically “cut to a commercial” when it came time for the love scene between Giulietta and Alessandro and not write a detailed passionate love scene befitting a Romeo & Juliet?

ANNE: Excellent question. On the one hand, I am not entirely sure it does befit Romeo and Juliet to have a very detailed love scene – Shakespeare never wrote stage directions, remember? On the other hand, I certainly share your frustration with the commercial break; it’s just that I – as an author – need to make sure the book is not branded as “a certain kind of book”. I see it all the time: it doesn’t matter how great the book is, if the love scenes are not censured, the book will be snubbed. I wish it were otherwise, but there you have it. So, how about this: I challenge my readers and the readers of this blog to write the missing scene, and we will all vote for the best one?

That should be fun 🙂

xx Anne

PLEASE NOTE

HarperCollins Canada is going to hold a contest for Anne’s challenge to her readers (see above) and you have until October 31, 2010 to submit your written version of the love scene between Giulietta and Alessandro to HCContests@harpercollins.com – The winner will receive an autographed copy of JULIET!

You can sign up for HarperCollins Canada’s contests newsletter here:

www.harpercollins.ca/members/newsletters/samples/03.html

P.S. For a wonderful photo tour of Julie’s Siena, visit www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/features/anne_fortier/photo-gallery.php

Juliet by Anne Fortier

Book Review
Title: Juliet
Author: Anne Fortier
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: 2010
Pages: 464
ISBN-10: 1554684994
ISBN-13: 978-1554684991
Stars: 4.0

When HarperCollins Canada asked me if I would like to be a part of their blog tour for author Anne Fortier and her impressive sophomore novel, Juliet, I jumped at the chance after reading the book’s synopsis.

“Juliet” follows Julie Jacobs on a trip to Siena, Italy where she is to locate an old family treasure. Soon she is launched on a precarious journey into the true history of her ancestor Giulietta, whose legendary love for a young man named Romeo turned medieval Siena upside down. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in Shakespeare’s unforgettable blood feud, she begins to realize that the notorious curse — “A plague on both your houses!” — is still at work, and that she is the next target. It seems the only one who can save her from her fate is Romeo . . . but where is he?

Juliet is a splendid romantic mystery set in Siena, Italy involving 25-year-old American Juliet Jacobs, a.k.a. Giulietta Tolomei, a direct descendant of THE Juliet of Romeo and Juliet notoriety. Juliet’s story is told in two centuries, Jacobs’ own, and the 14th century when the original Romeo and Giulietta’s tale unfolded in Siena – not Verona as Shakespeare had us believe.

When Juliet’s guardian, her great Aunt Rose, passes away, she leaves her entire estate to Juliet’s heinous twin sister Janice (the opposite of Juliet in almost every way) with whom she has an estranged relationship. For the single Juliet, who has never shown much ambition beyond teaching Shakespeare in summer camp, she leaves a mysterious key to a safety deposit box in her home town of Siena and a letter encouraging her to discover a treasure that will unlock the secrets of her own ancestry as well as the death of her parents. So begins Juliet’s exciting journey to medieval Tuscany where she uncovers history changing secrets and events that will put her life at risk while possibly introducing her to her own Romeo.

The novel juxtaposes between Juliet’s first person narrative in modern day and a third person narrative of the never before revealed events in the lives of the original Romeo Marescotti and Giulietta Tolomei. It will likely be a far more intoxicating read for those who have sound knowledge of Shakespeare’s play but I believe it will stand up as an above average read for lovers of historical fiction and romantic mystery even if you don’t. Juliet boasts a dramatic cast of intriguing characters including Juliet’s family butler Umberto, Eva Maria Salimbeni, her nefarious nephew Alessandro Santini, and the artist Maestro Lippi who will keep you riveted to the plot every step of the way!

Anne Fortierwho is as beautiful as the Juliet we all imagine, writes with splendor, intelligence and elegance and I was captivated by this story from Chapter 1. Her heroine is a complex character who is far from perfect which makes her refreshingly interesting and Fortier has obviously done a great deal of research, not only about medieval and modern day Siena, but also about Romeo and

Sir Frank Dicksee\’s Painting of Romeo and Juliet

Juliet. Like the Capulets and Montagues, she writes of two families who have been feuding for centuries – the Tolomeis and Salimbenis (who actually existed) – and her description of Siena is so perfect that you will find yourself fully immersed in it without any hesitation. For an armchair tourist like myself, I was in heaven!

There are so many deceptive twists and turns in this adventurous novel that it will keep you guessing until the final pages. The only thing that disappointed me about it was the “love scene” in Chapter VIII.II and without giving away anything, I’ll just say that it was a pretty big disappointment at that. My star rating dropped from 4.5 to 4 because of it.

However, it has been a joy to stumble upon a read this good. I worried for nothing about being able to read the book fast enough for HarperCollins’ deadlines, but I needn’t have as I could barely put it down. Reading Juliet is the perfect way to spend a chilly autumn day and I will be recommending this fascinating book, which will change your perception of Romeo and Juliet forever, to my girlfriends for a long time to come.

Anne Fortier, PhD. will be appearing at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto from October 30 – November 1 so don’t miss this opportunity to see her in person and to ask her all about the adventures of Juliet!

Thank you HarperCollins Canada! Find out more about the upcoming Juliet Blog Tour with Anne Fortier at www.facebook.com/HarperCollinsCanada, twitter.com/HarperCollinsCA and through the Savvy Reader Newsletter at www.harpercollins.ca/members/newsletters/samples/19.html