Romeo and Juliet – 2016


“By whose direction found’st thou out this place?”

We Players presents
Romeo and Juliet


By William Shakespeare
Directed by Ava Roy
Produced by Lauren D. Chavez and Ava Roy
Original Score by Charlie Gurke

August 12 – September 25
at Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park
Sonoma County, CA

October 6 – 16
at Villa Montalvo, Montalvo Arts Center
Saratoga, CA

Walk in the footsteps of the most famous lovers of all time, following the story as it unfolds throughout majestic California landscapes. Enter a 360 degree sphere of performance – immerse yourself in the action as We Players blurs the boundary between audience and actors, history and the present moment. Hear the clash of steel as sword fights fly, join the Capulets in their spicy family circle dance, participate in the rituals of marriage and death, and let Romeo & Juliet break your heart and fill you with joy all at once.

Show Dates & Times

Romeo & Juliet at Rancho Petaluma Adobe
Sonoma County, CA

Dates: Friday – Sunday, August 12 – September 25
Performances are timed with the sunset. Start times vary and will be announced soon.
Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park at 3325 Adobe Rd, Petaluma, CA 94954
Reservations open in June

Romeo & Juliet at Villa Montalvo
Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA

Thursday October 6
Friday October 7
Sunday October 9
Thursday October
Sunday October 16
Times: Start times vary, TBA
Location: Villa Montalvo at 15400 Montalvo Rd, Saratoga, CA 95070
Tickets: $45-80
Reservations open in June

The Cast

The Cast

Jennie Brick as The Nurse

Maria Leigh as Juliet

Amy Nowak as Peter

Libby Oberlin as Capulet

John Steele as Benvolio

Rush Rehm as Friar Laurence

Mohammad Shehata as Romeo

Steve Thomas as Tybalt and the County Paris

Courtney Walsh as Mercutio and Prince Escalus

Production Team

Production Team

Director: Ava Roy

Co-Producers: Lauren D. Chavez & Ava Roy

Production Stage Manager: Moira McGovern

Stage Manager: Britt Lauer

Assistant Stage Managers: Albert Kong & Gabi Linde

Composer & Music Director: Charles Gurke

Costume Designer: Brooke Jennings

Choreographer: Becky Robinson-Leviton

Fight Choreographer: Benjamin Stowe

House Manager: Lauren Matley

Photographers: Lauren Matley, Jim Norrena, Miller Oberlin

Poster Art: Olive Mitra

The Play

The Prologue

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.

The Place: Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

For the first time in our 16 year history, We Players is setting out to create a production that is built for not one but two unique locations – both historic California sites. We are stretching our site-integrated practice by creating work that is inspired by two landscapes and will be carefully integrated into each.

The Place: Petaluma Adobe

“The first view of the great valley filled me with emotion. It was a case of love at first site, which better acquaintance would only deepen…nowhere, was there a scene of such beauty and suggestion of everything desirable for man.” Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo

Rancho Petaluma Adobe is both a California State Park, a California Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Made from adobe brick and Redwood, the Adobe functioned both as a headquarters of a working ranch and as a defensive structure against attack by the Russians then living on the California coast.

In 1834, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was sent from San Francisco, by the Mexican Government, to the area to accomplish three things: to secularize the San Francisco Solano Mission in Sonoma, to colonize the area by starting a pueblo (Sonoma), and to be near the Russian Outpost at Fort Ross. He was given his first land grant of 44,000 acres (later supplemented with another 22,000 acres) as a reward and to further encourage his leadership. General Vallejo’s working ranch was in operation between 1836 and 1857 and employed up to 2,000 Native Americans at a time, who made bricks, hauled lumber, built buildings, cooked, farmed, made tools, tanned hides and tended the large herd of cattle.

The rancho became one of the largest ranches north of the San Francisco Bay and a social-economic center of Northern California. The ranch also included a tannery, smithy, and a grist mill powered by Adobe Creek. The fate of the ranch turned in 1846–48 when the United States and Mexico went to war: Lieutenant Colonel Vallejo was imprisoned for his position in the Mexican military, and in his absence, John C. Frémont requisitioned and stripped the ranch of its horses, cattle and grain reserves for the California Battalion. Many of the natives, his main labor force, fled from the soldiers.

Thereafter the ranch declined in value and profitability every year. In 1910, Native Sons of the Golden West purchased what remained of General Mariano G. Vallejo’s vast adobe ranch house. In 1932 it was registered as California State Historical Landmark #18. After years of work and fundraising, the fully restored historic site was turned over to the State of California in 1951. In 1970, it was registered as a National Historic Landmark.

source: wikipedia

The Place: Villa Montalvo, Montalvo Arts Center

For the first time in our 16 year history, We Players is setting out to create a production that is built for not one but two unique locations – both historic California sites. We are stretching our site-integrated practice by creating work that is inspired by two landscapes and will be carefully integrated into each.

The Place: Villa Montalvo

We Players received a very special invitation from the Montalvo Arts Center to conduct a month-long residency this April 2016 with our Romeo & Juliet cast and crew. We will return to the Montalvo campus in October to adapt our full scale production of Romeo & Juliet for the mansion and grounds of the illustrious Villa Montalvo.

About The Montalvo Arts Center/ Villa Montalvo

Montalvo Arts Center is also known as Villa Montalvo, a historic landmark built in 1912 by James Duval Phelan (1861-1930). Phelan, a passionate Californian who had been a three-term progressive mayor of San Francisco, went on to become California’s first popularly-elected U.S. Senator. Villa Montalvo was Senator Phelan’s favorite home and a center of artistic, political and social life in Northern California. Phelan invited leading writers and artists to Villa Montalvo to work on individual artistic projects in an environment rich in dialogue and fellowship. Jack London, Ethel Barrymore, Mary Pickford, Douglass Fairbanks, and Edwin Markham were among Phelan’s many guests.

At his death, Senator Phelan was explicit in his bequest of Villa Montalvo. “I would like the property at Saratoga, California, known as Villa Montalvo, to be maintained as a public park open under reasonable restrictions, the buildings and grounds immediately surrounding the same to be used as far as possible for the development of art, literature, music, and architecture by promising students.”

In 1930, the San Francisco Art Association assumed trusteeship of Villa Montalvo and within a year announced the intention to launch an artist residency program, the third program of its kind in the United States. In 1939, the Villa reopened to the public as an arts center with 10 artists in residence and a small gallery in the Villa. In October 1953 trusteeship of the villa was turned over to the Montalvo Association.

For over 75 years, Montalvo has served the community as a center for creativity, offering art courses, performing arts events, gallery exhibitions, educational opportunities, artist residencies and more. Today, Montalvo and its arts programs serve nearly 200,000 visitors each year.

About The Lucas Artists Residency Program

The Sally and Don Lucas Artists Residency Program (LAP) is designed to offer artists from a range of disciplines an environment conducive to individual and collaborative creative practice. Seeking to stimulate an energetic exchange of ideas between culturally diverse Fellows and across varied artistic fields and scholarly disciplines, the residency has earned international recognition as a model of curatorial practice supporting the development of new and challenging contemporary work.

The Action

The Action

Continuing our nearly 10 years of unprecedented partnership with the National Park Service and California State Parks – We Players heads north from our home in the Bay to the glory of wine country.

More to come on how we’ll integrate this beloved story of star-crossed lovers with the Adobe and surrounding grounds…

Related Programming

“Look to behold this night,
Earth-treading stars that make the dark heaven light”
– Lord Capulet

We Players Presents

The Capulet Ball

An elegant evening of performance and celebration

Saturday May 7 in San Francisco
Saturday May 14 in San Anselmo
Saturday June 4 in Oakland
Saturday June 18 in Calistoga
additional dates and venues TBA

Tickets: $75 – $150

Prior to the full scale production, We Players will present an elaborate prelude and elegant masquerade ball at several stunning venues throughout the greater Bay Area. The Capulet Ball is conceived as a performance integrated party where guests are invited to the Capulet’s home for a masquerade ball, complete with delicious drinks, edibles, live music, and dancing. Guests are invited to bring their own masks, or be decked out by We Players, and join the Capulet family (along with the party crashers Mercutio, Benvolio and Romeo) on the dance floor. Love is in the air! Action from the drama will unfold throughout the evening and partygoers will have the opportunity to mingle with performers and creative staff.

Raise a glass, learn the family’s spicy circle dance, flirt with fellow masked revelers, and share in the age-old Capulet Family Candle Ceremony before the night is through. Attire is festive and fabulous!

Capulet Ball Event Schedule

DATE: Saturday May 7
TIME: 7-10pm

LOCATION: The Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin
2325 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94115

DATE: Saturday May 14
TIME: 7:30-10:30pm
LOCATION: Stunning private residence in San Anselmo
Details provided to registered guests

DATE: Saturday June 4
TIME: 8-11pm

LOCATION: Impact Hub Oakland
2323 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
TICKETS: $65/Members, $75/Guests

DATE: Saturday June 18
TIME: 6:30-11pm
LOCATION: Castello di Amorosa
4045 St. Helena Highway, Calistoga, CA, 94515
TICKETS: $125/Members, $150/Guests


Sword Fights & Sandwiches

performance, workshop, and social gathering; May & June

We’ve cooked up a distinctive afternoon event – Sword Fights & Sandwiches – to share with special groups in the months preceding the debut of our newest large-scale site-integrated performance. Performance, rapier/ dagger demonstration, discussion, lunch and hands on stage combat workshop with our guests.
These are private events and be scheduled by contacting


Mask Making Salons

presentation + hands on mask making workshop; March – April

Saturday 3/16, 2-4pm at Montalvo Arts Center

Saturday 3/5, 10am at St. Mary’s in SF


Aesthetic Education Programs

As part of our 2016 residency at the Montalvo Arts Center, We Players will offer unique site-integrated performance and educational programming to 600 middle school students in October. Available program dates and times as follows:

Monday October 10 at 9:30am and 11:30am
Tuesday October 11 at 9:30am and 11:30am

Interested teachers should contact to find out more