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The Daily Tar Heel

Local Director Reinterprets Casting of 'Romeo & Juliet'

Last March, she directed Company Carolina's rendering of "Pericles;" Jacot's latest project is a mostly male casting of "Romeo and Juliet," which opens Friday at the ArtsCenter.

"I have to feel like I'm doing something new," she said. "I've no desire to do 'As You Like It,' because I've seen it before done well."

While Shakespeare was living, all male casts wasn't anything new.

But Jacot's re-envisioning is a bit more radical: the play's protagonists are both male; Friar Lawrence is less of a "Friar Tuck" archtype and was reconceptualized as a repressed homosexual; Mercutio is cast as a woman; the Nurse is a mustached man in drag; a gun in the mouth replaces a knife in the chest as Juliet's method of suicide.

Jacot said that after she decided Juliet would be a man, her creative flood gates opened. She pushed her experimentation with gender roles further and further; between Juliet being a man, the Nurse in drag and Lady Capulet, all possible versions of femininity are present.

While Jacot plays with gender roles, she is wary of presenting the play as a social commentary. "I never wanted to make this a political statement," Jacot said. "What (the play) has come to be about is wanting to be loved."

Consequently, Jacot deleted the family feud subplot, and refocused the play on Juliet's relationship with her family.

"As a director you want to say 'this relates to you.' Even if it's not a socio-political statement, the emotions can transfer."

The emotions are key to Jacot; overt shock value, however, is not. Anyone expecting this new rendering of the play to consist of explicit gay trysts will be disappointed, as the characters only kiss twice, as was dictated by the script.

Jacot said she doesn't intend to shock as much as to jolt the audience and make them see Shakespeare in a different light --

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