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Actors with Down syndrome release online version of Romeo and Juliet


ABLE Ensemble | Facebook | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/09/21

Filmed using Zoom, this unique performance is available beginning June 18.

Calling all Shakespeare fans! A unique production of Romeo and Juliet will be premiered this June 18 on YouTube, according to Lejeune Foundation.

The performance, called Romeo and Juliet Remixed, was recorded during lockdown entirely on Zoom. Interestingly, it boasts not one Romeo, but 9, as well as 11 Juliets. The 38 performers all belong to Artists Breaking Limits and Expectations (A.B.L.E.) and have Down syndrome or other intellectual disabilities.

The actors taking part in the production have poured their hearts and souls into the play. With 10 long weeks of rehearsals on Zoom (and we all know how exhausting those Zoom calls can be!), the performers have come up with their very own interpretation of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy.

While the cast members have drawn from the original script, they’ve also added a personal touch with songs, dances, and monologues that they’ve included to create the Romeo and Juliet Remix.

Thespians around the world will appreciate what an enormous task this performance would be for any actor relying on the internet, let alone those with vulnerabilities. Thankfully, to keep frustration levels down, the program leaders incorporated ruff-making out of coffee filters (a great activity to try with the kids!), scavenger hunts, making masks for their appearances in the scene at the Capulet’s ball, and putting together playlists inspired by the story.

If you’d like to watch the video when it is available on June 18 on Youtube, A.B.L.E is asking for a minimum donation of $5. The video will also be made available on Vimeo after the premiere. The proceeds will go towards the foundation, which has been instrumental during the pandemic in enabling its members to have some social interaction while boosting their confidence.

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