Downtown Springfield is in the midst of a renaissance and, as Judith “Sparky” Roberts of Fools Haven Acting Company notes, “nothing fits better with the idea of a renaissance than Shakespeare.” Fools Haven is the resident theater company at Wildish Community Theater in downtown Springfield, and Roberts is directing a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, with a short run Jan. 27-29. Local actors Cloud Pemble and Nicole Trobaugh star in the roles of the ill-fated, star-crossed lovers. “It can change people’s lives, to be exposed to Shakespeare,” Roberts continues. She calls her production of Romeo & Juliet “semi-traditional,” adding that “we do inventive things with it. We have some media, music from four centuries, some dance — really a concert of art forms as well as being Shakespeare’s original play.” Roberts says the cast is “very physical, inventive. We work very much as an ensemble to make it very understandable.” Shakespeare’s enduring appeal lies in the writer’s keen understanding of human nature, she says. “People haven’t really changed that much,” Roberts says. “The cultures are different but the characters you meet or see in the news, they’re the same people. You recognize them. His writing always seems timely.”
Romeo & Juliet runs 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28, and 2 pm Sunday, Jan. 29, at Wildish Community Theater, 630 Main Street in Springfield. $22, with limited $5 student and senior tickets made possible by the Oregon Cultural Trust; call 541-868-0689.