Romeo and Juliet Opens Thursday

Fall Show Keeps Students Involved On Their Toes

Ilana Williams, Staffer


Theatre students will perform Romeo and Juliet Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Admission is $10 and performances will be in the auditorium.

Before auditions, students were given notes from theatre director Stephanie Smith about what role would be best for them. That way, they had an idea of which part they should consider.

Senior Cole Bresnahan said he enjoys playing the part he has in the show.

”I’m playing Tybalt,” Bresnahan said. “Because I like my role, it worked out well for me.”

Students who are familiar with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet know the story is about two opposing families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Tybalt is Juliet’s cousin, who has a strong distaste for the Montagues and Romeo’s family. Because of this, he dislikes Romeo, and Juliet’s interactions with him.

“We fight a lot, and for me, that’s probably the hardest part,” Bresnahan said. “Tybalt is actually in all three of the fight scenes, which is more than the other characters. The swords we use are decently heavy, and with ten hours of prep time to get our scenes blocked, it has been tiresome.”

Senior Gabriella Trevino-Brandy, who plays Juliet, said she was excited when Smith asked her to play her role.

“I could see it happening because I played other characters in the past that were really similar,” Bandy said. “In one show, I played a girl named Lucy Locket, and she was very hard-headed and sweet, but not. Smith said she wanted Juliet to be someone different than the sweet, “oh I’m so in love” kind of Juliet.”

Brandy usually manages shows and does a lot of behind-the-scenes work, so she is excited to have a role on stage and work with Smith in a new way.

“I’m playing a more aggressive and contemplated Juliet,” Brandy said. “She’s the one in the relationship who thinks it out, and is like, ‘this seems like a bad idea,’ but she loves Romeo, so she does things anyway. I’m playing off of that, making her not as sweet as everyone thinks she is.”

Because the show has so much notoriety, many audience members may have a picture in their head of how the show should be portrayed. This keeps the actors on their toes and makes it hard to improv or adlib.

“Performing Shakespeare is totally different from modern English,” senior Kristian Jones said. “It has definitely expanded my knowledge on different levels of writing.”

Jones, who plays Apothecary and gives Romeo his poison, said the characterization is difficult.

“Trying to figure out how you want to portray your character is not easy,” Jones said. “Like if I want to have a limp or not or if I should have an accent or not. I have to adapt the character. I was originally going to have a limp, but I’m not going to anymore. The way I’m looking at the Apothecary is that she’s not going to be as clean as everybody else, and she really wants acceptance. That’s how I’m viewing it, and in doing so, I sell Romeo poison.”

An improvement for Jones has been reviewing her lines. She wants to know them for the show without putting a lot of thought to it.

“The high point is seeing the show all come together,” Jones said. “We have a part where a character, Mercutio, dies. It’s phenomenal. We have a lot of talented people in our class, and the way they portray that scene is believable.”

Senior Clark Cravens who plays Romeo said he enjoys being in the show, especially in the fight between Mercutio and Tybalt.

“It’s a lot of sword fighting, and it’s physical,” Cravens said. “It’s a good scene to adapt to the lifestyle. It’s more than just language and action, and something I have always wanted to do since I was a kid. Getting to fight with swords in a safe environment is really cool.”

Actors have been memorizing their lines for a while and are concentrating on improving and getting the language down. In addition, they have been adding feelings and actions to their production.

“The whole show is amazing,” Brandy said. “My costume is great and super fun. I enjoy the character work and can identify a lot with Juliet with the way Smith and I are playing her. The entire experience has been great.”