Thousands of lovers and newcomers to the world of Shakespeare experienced the passion, romance, and dazzling swordplay of Romeo and Juliet — one of the most famous and moving plays ever written — in three nightly productions at The Barnacle Historic State Park, Jan. 18-20.
Presented by the Florida Shakespeare Theater, founding artistic director Colleen Stovall said this year’s professional production was not only true to the original script, “but it was an absolute visual delight, with detailed authentic costumes of the colorful and flourishing Italian period in the city-state of Verona.”
Local residents and friends of the park took in the free outside performance from lawn chairs and blankets scattered across the grassy grounds of the Historic Barnacle Estate, which has served as the favored Miami venue for the production company over the past several years.
“We were thrilled to learn that so many families in attendance were totally new to our Shakespeare in the Park experience,” Stovall continued. “And there’s no better first-time production to see than Romeo and Juliet.”
Since it was written around 1595, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been in almost continual production across the globe, and is arguably his most beloved play.
In fact, as early as the 1890s, the Munroe family regularly hosted amateur Shakespeare plays among themselves and their friends — on the very veranda where today’s plays continue to enthrall audiences from all across South Florida.
The Barnacle was built in 1891 by Ralph Middleton Munroe, who founded the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and held the position of Commodore there for 22 years.
Situated on the shore of the bay, this was the home of Munroe, whose principal passion was designing yachts. As a seaman, civic activist, naturalist, and photographer, Commodore Munroe cherished the natural world around him — and in fact possessed a sizable library of Shakespeare’s plays in the library of the estate.
The Barnacle Historic State Park is administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and events are sponsored by The Barnacle Society Inc.
The Barnacle Society is a volunteer nonprofit, citizen-support organization created to generate public awareness, education, and financial support for the preservation and maintenance of estate, its boathouse, and beautiful grounds.
Throughout the entire year, The Barnacle Society presents numerous other activities including outdoor films and myriad family-fun and cultural. In terms of musical events alone, here’s a look at the lineup of “Concerts Under the Moonlight” at The Historic Barnacle State Park through May:
February — Indie folk artist Keith Johns;
March — Miami-based indie-folk band, American Darling Valve;
April — Fusion folk Americana duo Jennings and Keller, and
May — Modern day troubadour Beth Woods.
Also look for details on other upcoming events at The Barnacle including: the Mad Hatter Arts Festival, Mar. 16; and The Commodore’s Birthday Party & Fundraiser, playfully called the “Bash on the Bay,” on Mar. 30.
For donation information, visit www.thebarnacle.org/donate. For general information, to become a volunteer, or to learn about Barnacle Society membership, call 305-442-6866 or visit www.floridastateparks.org/park/The-Barnacle and www.TheBarnacle.org. The Barnacle Historic State Park is located at 3485 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove, FL 33133.