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Star-cross'd lovers coming to Pleasanton

Condensed 'Romeo and Juliet' will be at library

San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is on tour, taking an abridged version of "Romeo and Juliet" to venues around the state, including Pleasanton. Each performance is composed from Shakespeare's text and edited to include the key conflicts, themes and characters from the play.

"San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrated our 35th anniversary in 2017, and we're also celebrating 30 years of our Shakespeare on Tour program with a well-loved title," artistic director Rebecca Ennals said.

The troupe gave two performances for students at Amador Valley High School last Monday, and it will give an hour-long show for the public at the Pleasanton library at 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 11. At the end of the performance, the cast will take questions from the audience.

After the Q&A, everyone is invited to stay for an hour-long "Playshop," where cast members lead a series of activities and exercises to deepen their appreciation of drama, theater and Shakespeare. There is no charge for the show or "Playshop," courtesy of the library.

"So many people encounter Shakespeare for the first time by reading 'Romeo and Juliet' in a classroom," Ennals said. "Since an educational focus is a key pillar of our mission as a company, 'Romeo and Juliet' seemed the perfect fit for this tour."

"Romeo and Juliet" features both thrilling sword fights and Shakespeare's beautiful poetry, performed by a cast of five Bay Area actors in contemporary costumes. Additionally, there are a couple of walk-on roles where audience volunteers get to be part of the show.

Shakespeare on Tour travels an average of 10,000 miles annually to bring an abridged version of a Shakespeare classic to schools, libraries and community centers across California. It is a program of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, known for its annual Free Shakespeare in the Park, which has been performed in Amador Valley Community Park each summer since 2000.

This summer, the festival will stage Shakespeare's comic romp, "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Also each summer the festival offers a two-week session of its Bay Area Shakespeare Camp in Pleasanton for campers ages 7-13, which ends by staging a play for family and friends.

For more information about San Francisco Shakespeare Festival programs, call (415) 558-0888 or visit www.sfshakes.org.

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