Modern twist on classic

WHAT would happen if Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet met in today's Fairfield?

That is one of several questions that the Powerhouse Youth Theatre (PYT) seeks to answer in its production In this Fairfield: Romeo and Juliet in the West, being performed on stage from tomorrow to Saturday.

Carramar actress Melanie Araya, who plays the roles of Juliet's nurse and Tibalt in the production, said she didn't think that the tale of the star-crossed lovers would play out the same way in modern times.

"A lot of it seems a bit silly now; they fell in love in three days," Ms Araya, 20, said.

"But there are a lot of themes that modern audiences can relate to, particularly in the conflict between the two families.

"Fairfield is a very multicultural area and there could be some conflict now if someone was dating someone from a different culture or religion."

Green Valley actress Monica Kumar, who plays Juliet's nurse and Benvolio, said the production brings some humour to a well-known tragedy.

"It's amazing that the play is so old, but it's still relatable," Ms Kumar, 21, said. "Besides myself, all of my friends hate Shakespeare and would not go to see one of his plays.

"Our goal was to keep the beauty of the language, but also set it in a modern context that most people can relate to and understand so as to make it more appealing to audiences."

The contemporary performance explores the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet through the eyes of young people living in western Sydney.

While it uses Shakespeare's classic tale as a starting point, the work was performed and written by high school students and the PYT young actors' ensemble in collaboration with theatre makers David Williams and Kate Worsley.

The play is performed in two languages, with all roles performed by two actors, one speaking in English and the other in Spanish and most actors also appear in the play as themselves, responding to the action on stage.

Details: Powerhouse Youth Theatre, Fairfield School of Arts, 19 Harris Street, Fairfield. Start: 7pm. Cost: $15.

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