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'Romeo and Juliet' meets 'Star Wars' here at 5 p.m. today

Original show gets wacky with Peripatetic Players

Shakespeare will meet "Star Wars" right here in Pleasanton this Sunday, and everyone is invited.

The traveling troupe known as Samuel Peaches' Peripatetic Players will roll its gypsy caravan into Centennial Park at 5 p.m. to present "Shakespeare or Space Wars," an homage to two classic star-crossed tales of daring and destiny: "Romeo and Juliet" and the Star Wars movies. The performance -- filled with music, mayhem and physical comedy -- is free and appropriate for all ages.

Samuel Peaches (Casey Robbins) noted that he had "long yearned to perform the works of William Shakespeare ... (But) while Hamlet is really the role of my dreams, I have not yet found actors able to create the properly dour atmosphere of Elsinore, so instead I will direct this troupe in our own inimitable version of 'Romeo and Juliet.'"

"In adapting this great story to our actors' abilities, we have of course updated most of the language and generally butchered the play to leave only the most basic plot points," he added.

Thumper (Joan Howard), the troupe's property manager, explained the "Star Wars" part.

"Actually, the greatest story of all time is the original space opera trilogy created by Mr. George Lucas," she said. "We will perform the original part of the original trilogy outdoors on our mobile stage with original props that I have created especially for this original production."

The Peripatetic Players is a production of Idiot String, the collaborative project between theater-makers Howard and Rebecca Longworth. It debuted with "O Best Beloved," a mix of Rudyard Kilping's "Just So Stories," at the 2013 San Francisco Fringe Festival.

The next summer it traveled to Bay Area community parks to share the production, packing everything in its FluxWagon, a large mobile stage that looks like a bright painted gypsy caravan. The stage unfolds along with the story.

Last summer, the players presented "Aesop Amuck," blending over a dozen of the classic fables.

So pack a picnic supper, grab the kids and get to the park early for good seating. It's family-friendly live theater at its chaotic best.

Fanciful family fun

What: 'Shakespeare or Space Wars'

Who: Peripatetic Players of San Francisco

When: 5 p.m. this Sunday

Where: Centennial Park, 5353 Sunol Blvd.

Cost: Free but donations are accepted.

Other: Bring blankets or low chairs and a picnic to enjoy.

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