Where the acting really shines, where the language is musical, poetic, and conversational, is in performances by three Guthrie mainstays. Richard Iglewski's well-meaning but bumbling and cowardly Friar Laurence is like a photographic negative of Lear's jester: the foolish wise man. As the volatile Capulet, Stephen Pelinski is like a cross between Fred MacMurray and Benito Mussolini. The only trouble spot in this performance is his reaction to Juliet's false death, which builds so slowly as to seem implausibly flat.
And while Stephen Yoakam (chorus, Escalus, apothecary) doesn't have a lot to do, his spotlight moments are among the production's most incisive. His raincoated figure, often lurking in the background, provides an ominous symbol of the story's rush toward doom and sorrow (or toward eternal Tantric bliss on heaven's king-sized futon).