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A Fallout 76 theatre troupe is performing Romeo and Juliet tomorrow

Wherefore art thou Deathclaw?

Are you looking for a little bit of art and culture in the middle of the nuclear apocalypse? Then this Shakespeare troupe has just the thing for you. The Wasteland Theatre Company are a group of actors who “[perform] Shakespeare *live* in post-nuclear-apocalyptic West Virginia via the Fallout 76 multiplayer video game,” according to their Twitter bio. In the past, they’ve done a production of Macbeth and a festival of Shakespeare’s sonnets, but this time around (via Rock, Paper, Shotgun), they’re doing a performance of one of the Bard’s most famous works: Romeo and Juliet.

The Fallout 76 theatre version of the play will be cut down to only about an hour, and the troupe will also have to work around some constraints of the medium, like using raiders and settlers as the rival Montague and Capulet families. They did, however, build their own version of the Globe Theatre in-game, which is where Shakespeare staged his original productions in London back in the day. Still, this is one of the more ambitious endeavors I’ve seen that crosses over theatre and games, and as a long-time fan of both, I couldn’t be happier about it. They even made a trailer for the event!

Theatre-goers have been enjoying Shakespeare for hundreds of years, and I think it’s really cool that fans like the Wasteland Theatre Company are bringing the beloved plays to a whole new medium. We’ve already seen live concerts in games, so why not live theatre?

The whole thing makes me think of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a novel that was adapted for TV by HBO last year, which centers on a travelling Shakespeare troupe that banded together after an illness wiped out most of society. There’s something compelling and romantic to me in the idea that we would continue to perform Shakespeare even after society crumbles, and a makeshift performance in a Fallout 76 theatre evokes that sentiment beautifully.

The Wasteland Theatre Company and Five-0 Productions’ performance of Romeo and Juliet will be streaming live on the Falloutfive0 Twitch channel on April 30 at 9pm EST / 6pm PST, or May 1 at 2am BST.

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