NORTH BENNINGTON -- Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts, based in Cambridge, New York, is launching its 20th annual Free Outdoor Shakespeare Tour this weekend, and will feature a Mount Anthony Union High School student in the role of Romeo.

Sebastian Durfee first learned about the open auditions for the role from his mother, who had played violin in the theater company's pit for a musical last year. He was no stranger to the stage, being a member of the MAUHS drama club, having performed in multiple elementary school plays at the Southshire Community School, and having participated in the North Bennington Shakespeare Theater since the age of 11, so he decided to give it a shot. Hubbard Hall had decided to cast Romeo and Juliet as actual teenagers for this performance series.

When Durfee arrived at the auditions, he found himself surrounded by prospective actors and actresses working together to help each other warm up. As their audition, each person had to deliver a 10-line monologue from the play, and sing 16 bars.

Not long after, Durfee received an email from Hubbard Hall saying he had been cast as Romeo in the production of "Romeo and Juliet." "I was very excited," he said.

His co-star is Virginia Edinger, of Cambridge, who he said has worked with Hubbard Hall in the past. "I'm in awe of her," he said, "She's pretty cool." A rising junior, when asked if he was considering a career in theater, Durfee replied, "Definitely!"

Hubbard Hall describes this version of the classic play as "fun" and "fast-paced.


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" Directed by Hubbard Hall executive director David Snider, the play will feature minimal props and costumes, and will instead focus on the words and actions of the actors. "Each site will inform how we do what we do," reads a press release from Hubbard Hall, "with an emphasis on a fierce, fearless tackling of Shakespeare's world and words. With a mix of young talent and seasoned professionals, this company will mix Shakespeare's world with our own, exploring how age, authority, religion, and family continue to shape us -- and what can happen when generations collide, or at least fail to communicate."

The traveling performance will come closest to Bennington this Sunday, July 20, when it stops at the Park-McCullough House in North Bennington. The other locations are: Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, on Friday, July 18; Cambridge Guest Home in Cambridge, New York, on Saturday, July 19; Georgi Museum, in Shushan, New York, on Monday, July 21; Hoosick Falls Common in Hoosick Falls, New York, on Tuesday, July 22; Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester on Wednesday, July 23; The Factory Point Town Green in Manchester on Thursday, July 24; Salem Arts Works in Salem, New York, on Friday, July 25; and Greenwich Commons in Greenwich, New York, on Saturday, July 26.

All shows start at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. According to the release, unless the forecast calls for definite hard rain or storms, the outdoor performances will not be canceled until 6:55 p.m. There will be no rain dates.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB