SILVER LAKE — As players in the latest Shake on the Lake production go through tests of their costuming combinations and quick-changing abilities, Tré Whitley rips the velcro badge off his black shirt, takes off his police hat and slips on a clerical collar.
The transformation from a watchman to Friar John is one of many that Shake on the Lake is bringing to “Romeo and Juliet” as it tours Western New York during the next three weeks.
Gathered Monday for technical run-throughs under the high ceilings of the Silver Lake Institute’s Epworth Hall, actors move between roles and costumes. They know the story of the titular lovers well, but in re-imaging it, they jump between building sets, recording musical cues and embellishing their costumes.
“Something we look for when we put our cast together is being multi-disciplinary,” said Shake on the Lake Managing Director and co-founder Pilar McKay. “Our actors are not only taking on multiple (stage) roles because we kept our cast small, but they are also doing other theatre arts work.”
Sharon Combs has three hats: costume designer, education director and Lady Capulet; Matt Duncan is doing the play’s music in addition to four on-stage roles; Vinny Mraz is Benvolio and the play’s set designer.
Even Romeo (Zach Lusk) and Juliet (Larissa Jeanniton) both play secondary roles in the touring production.
“We look for people that want to have the entire theater experience, it’s not just show up, say lines and leave,” McKay said. “It’s about building more of that camaraderie and ownership.”
Shake On the Lake went on tour to five counties last year, and the troupe is expanding further this summer. Starting in Geneseo on Thursday, the production is hitting eight counties in 15 performances — four in Silver Lake and to locations such as Dansville’s Williams Park on Friday, the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, Batavia’s Centennial Park and…